Internationally renowned sculptor, installation artist, and environmental artist Alice Aycock discusses the relationship of art and ideas, the evolution of her creative process, public commissions, and cutting her artistic teeth in New York City in the late 1960s and 1970s.
“People have to realize if you’re in this, you’re in it for the long haul. You’re not always getting the limelight, but that doesn’t mean you’re not working, that doesn’t mean you’re not doing shows... Having a career in art, it’s the long haul.”
Alice Aycock is known for her large-scale, architectural, and site-specific sculptures bearing the influence of minimalism and conceptualism. Aycock studied at Douglass College, the women’s division of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, from 1964 to 1968, where many Fluxus artists were teaching at the time. She subsequently completed an M.A. under the direction of Robert Morris at Hunter College of the City University of New York (1968–71). As a young artist in New York, Aycock exhibited at 112 Greene Street, an experimental space run by Gordon Matta-Clark. Over the course of her long and prestigious career, Aycock’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Biennale, Documenta VI and VIII, and the Whitney Biennial. Her work is held in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Aycock has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York since 1991 and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore since 2010.
Artist and Author of a book on Public Art Commissions discusses her detailed methodology for winning and executing commissions, and how she makes a living making art.
“One thing I've learned is that we're our own worst enemies because we work for free too much and we give ourselves away. You have to stop doing that because it lowers the bar for all the rest of us. It's a strange economy we live in as artists.”
Lynn Basa, a professor of Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, received for Master of Public Administration from University of Washington, Seattle. Her past commissions include Indianapolis International Airport; Seattle City Light Collection; AbsolutVodka; Walt Disney Company; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; and Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Basa is the author of The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions.
World renowned photographer and teacher shares his ingredients for a successful art career and talks about the importance of building authentic relationships.
“You have to have authentic relationships. You have to, even when you’re being persistent, you have to be graceful. No one is going to show your work because you’re a persistent asshole. They might show your work if you’re persistent and graceful. It’s up to you to know the difference.”
Bey’s earliest photographs were in the style of street photography. His 5-year photo series documenting the people of Harlem titled Harlem USA was displayed at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979. Bey has lived in Chicago since 1997 and currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago. He has had numerous exhibitions worldwide such as the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Portrait Gallery in London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, where his works were also recently included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial. The Walker Art Center organized a mid-career survey of his work in 1995. Bey's works are included in the permanent collections of museums around the world.
Artist Jason Brammer and Erin Brammer, his wife and business manager, are partners in life and career. They discuss the logistics of their working relationship and strategies they have used to promote and sell Jason’s artwork and grow their career.
“Customer service... from our approach, you want to relieve any fears that they might have about buying your work... We’ll drive it over to your place, I’ll hang it on your wall, I’ll measure it out, it’ll be hung perfectly. You can even live with it for a week, and if you don’t like it in a week, I’ll give you your money back, you can say that. Nobody ever returns your stuff... Make it as easy as possible.”
Jason Brammer is a Chicago-based artist working in drawing, painting, and mixed media. His aesthetic involves meticulous draftsmanship influenced by steampunk and found and vintage materials. He has exhibited nationally, including at the University Club of Chicago, Firecat Projects (Chicago), and the Harrison Center for the Arts (Indianapolis). His work has appeared in such publications as The Huffington Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago Art Magazine. He has also been commissioned for several murals, including for LinkedIn and Dark Matter Coffee, as well as album artwork and concert posters. Erin Brammer has a background as a project manager for a financial company but quit the corporate world in 2007 to manage Jason’s art career full-time. They took a Klein Artist Works course in 2010.
Cuban activist, artist, and frequent detainee Tania Bruguera describes the importance of using art to destabilize systems of power.
“It’s extremely complicated [in Cuba] but that’s why, more than ever, artists should be working there.… I like the idea that art can create a different order of things so people can think differently about what’s happening.”
Tania Bruguera is a performance artist who prefers the term “initiator.” Born in Havana, Cuba in 1968, Bruguera attended the Instituto Superior de Arte art school from 1987-1992. She then moved to Chicago where she earned a Master in Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001. Since then Bruguera has taught at The University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she is the founder/director of Catédra Arte de Conducta, a performance art school located in Cuba. She received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship (1998), and has been awarded residencies at Skowhegan (2002); Headlands Centers for the Arts (1998); Fundación Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Maracay (1998); Art in General (1997); and ART/OMI (1995). Major exhibitions of her work have appeared at the Van Abbemuseum (2014); Queens Museum (2013); National Museum Wales (2012); Havana Biennial (2010, 2003, 2000); Neuberger Museum of Art (2010); Venice Biennale (2009, 2001); Tate Modern (2008); Moscow Biennial (2007); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2006); Shanghai Biennial (2004); Istanbul Biennial (2003); Documenta (2002); San Francisco Art Institute (2002); SITE Santa Fe Biennial (1999) and the São Paulo Bienal (1996). Tania Bruguera lives and work between New York City and Havana.
In this webinar, Chicago-based artist Nick Cave fields questions from Klein Artist Works participants, elaborating on his recent HEARD•NY project at New York's Grand Central Terminal, as well as how he's learned to incorporate assistants into his studio and how he was able to achieve major successes before even joining a gallery.
"Maybe you find a warehouse space or that you look into galleries that have downtime. It's about looking around and seeing what is available, how you can make something happen, and not be waiting for a gallery to pick you up. It's about continuing to find venues and finding ways to get your work out into the world."
Nick Cave is a Chicago-based artist known for his iconic "Soundsuits," his dynamic two-dimensional work and performative events, including HEARD•NY, a choreographed happening involving a herd of thirty colorful life-size horses presented by Creative Time at New York's Grand Central Terminal. Cave is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, and has shown his work throughout the world including the Denver Art Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Center for Contemporary Culture at The Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy, and the National Academy Museum in New York, amongst many others. Cave's work can be found in the holdings of museum and private collections around the country, and he's also been the recipient of awards such as Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, Artadia Award, Creative Capital Grant and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. Cave received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Painter Todd Chilton describes how an apparently steady trajectory can be bumpier than it appears, and how happy coincidence and friendship are fundamental to his success.
“The consistent theme for me for the last eleven years, since I’ve been in Chicago, is to consistently make work—that’s 1—and 2 is to be friendly and make friends with people. I mean, people know if you’re just using them for art purposes, but if you’re genuinely interested as an artist in seeing other artists’ work, inviting other artists over to your studio—these are the things that have worked for me.”
Todd Chilton is a Chicago-based painter represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery (Chicago) and Feature Inc. (New York City). Chilton was born in Chula Vista, California, near San Diego. Because of his father’s job in the air force, Chilton grew up at various locations across the country before ending up in high school in Maryland, making frequent trips to art museums in the District of Columbia. Chilton attended Brigham Young University where he began to concentrate on making art work, graduating with a BFA in 2002. Chilton moved to Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, where he lived with his in-laws while working as a stonemason and saving money for graduate school. In 2003 he moved to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute (SAIC), graduating with an MFA two years later. He spent time working as a part time instructor at SAIC and as the Assistant Director of Instructional Resources, and he currently teaches digital imaging and acts as Director of Educational Technology Advancement and Instructional Design. Chilton has participated in a number of prestigious group exhibitions, including at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago; Gallery of Contemporary Art at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis; Bellstreet Projects, Vienna, Austria; and Bourouina Gallery, Berlin, Germany. He has had solo and two-person shows at The Suburban, Oak Park; Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; and Feature Inc., New York City. Chilton lives with his wife and three daughters
Prolific, civically involved sculptor Bob Emser shares his experience in the public commission market, discussing his intuitive growth as a business-minded artist, and how to approach a professional career like a work of art.
“I get invited routinely by rotaries and other groups to talk about something that I call ‘sculptural economics’; it's basically facts about how putting a sculpture in your community will make it livelier and economically stronger.”
Bob Emser received an MFA (1978) from Bradley University. During his 25 year career Emser has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He has served as a visiting artist and has taught and at several universities and held a tenure professorship for 14 years. He was the founder the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria and in 2004 he co-founded the Chicago Sculpture International and currently serves as the president. Emser serves on the board of directors of the International Sculpture Center and the prestigious Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.
He received the prestigious Pollack Krasner Grant in 2010.
Renowned painter and sculptor Eric Fischl shares with the group the story of his career, from developing his unique voice amongst his peers, to finding and keeping the attention of an audience, and the details of his painting process including the commingling of the intuitive and the premeditated.
"I believe that you don't choose to be a painter; you just choose to be a better painter. It's a sensibility in the way a certain person processes information, and it comes through color and shape, and your hand…the way you connect to your feelings, and process and order your experiences."
Eric Fischl is a New York based sculptor and painter, and the author of the recent book, "Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas," which tells the story of his career as a renowned American painter. Fischl is best known for his provocative works which use the culture of the suburbs as a means to investigate modern America. Fischl's work can be found in the holdings of such prestigious collections as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modem Art in New York City, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark, and MusÈe Beaubourg in Paris, amongst others. Fischl is also the founder, President and lead curator for "America: Now and Here," a multi-disciplinary exhibition that addresses American identity through the arts. The artist is represented by Mary Boone Gallery in New York, and received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts.
Artist John Fraser discusses the long road from working in the commercial world to being a full-time artist, his transition from selling work in art fairs to gaining gallery representation, the value of MFA programs, and the logistics of working with galleries.
“You’re not ever going to secure representation by doing anything independent. I think that you can pursue a career and do it in a way that really indicates your talent, but I do think sooner or later you’ve got to commit to a partnership. Because you really cannot get the kind of exposure alone without having a gallery to really legitimize what you’re doing.”
John Fraser has been an exhibiting artist since 1980, having shown work in the United States, Germany, Spain, England, Japan, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada, and Hungary. His work in drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, and photography evinces a deep engagement with surface, geometric abstraction, formal relationships, and structural and material concerns. He has been awarded grants and fellowships from Arts Midwest / National Endowment for the Arts and The Illinois Arts Council. For over twenty-four years, he has been represented by Roy Boyd Gallery in Chicago.
Sculptor Josh Garber has been welding and working with a variety of metals for the past twenty years. Represented by the Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Garber has had a number of public art works commissions completed, including the Chicago Transit Authority commission of his work, “Hope and Renewal” which was installed in 2007 at the Kimball Brown line station.
“It is too much to ask for a dealer to remember every single piece. I actually made a few sales because I filled in the blanks."
In 2011, he was the recipient of the highly competitive Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant and is currently represented by a number of galleries beyond Chicago including: Melissa Morgan Fine Art, Winsor Gallery, Holly Johnson Gallery and Anne Reed Gallery. In this studio talk, Garber reviews his trajectory as an artist and the ways that his work has evolved from from installations and ceramics to his recent metal work and welding. Having participated in such prestigious residencies as Banff and the Kohler Industry and Art programs, Garber advocates the power of the artist's residency and the learning potential behind public art works projects.
With a meteoric career, the artist, potter, singer and urban renewal visionary discusses his humble beginnings and his relationships to institutions and alternative spaces.
“I started asking questions about my art. Could art be a way that I could start to talk about some of the politics and the forces in the city in the absence of having money? Can I do something gestural that would help people understand some of these things that I see everyday - the lack of education, the lack of food, food resources... How do we activate that?”
Theaster Gates combines his art practice with his background in urban planning and sculpture. Recently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gates has received significant awards from major foundations. In 2010 alone, he performed and exhibited at the Whitney Biennial and the Armory Show in New York; the Milwaukee Art Museum; Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis; and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.
New York-based painter Glenn Goldberg answers questions about the beginning of his career in the 70s and 80s, and his experiences finding the right gallery, including leaving a high-profile gallery to locate a better fit for his work and his goals. The artist also expounds on measuring success, both personally and professionally.
"I have an appetite. I'm always trying to grow and learn and be more courageous. With my last show in New York, I felt rather vulnerable… It wasn't an easy thing, and that, to me, was a very valuable lesson."
Born and raised in New York, painter Glenn Goldberg has exhibited widely over the past 30 years including exhibitions at Harvard University, Knoedler & Co. in New York, Pace Editions in New York, Galerie Albrecht in Munich, and Honor Fraser Gallery in Venice, CA. Goldberg's work can be found in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and he has been the recipient of such prestigious awards as the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Goldberg is represented by Jason McCoy Gallery in New York, Hill Gallery in Birmingham, MI and Linda Warren Projects in Chicago.
Sculptor Neil Goodman works with metal to create abstract forms linked to a modernist lineage and evocative of the Midwestern industrial landscape. Goodman invites Klein Artist Works into his home and studio to discuss materials and techniques as well as the many facets of a successful career: forming good work habits, maintaining an audience, budgeting for large projects, working with dealers, and his long teaching career.
“If you’re going to be an artist, you also need to be an audience, too. Because you want people to look at your work, and you have to make the effort to look at their work, too, and ask them questions. That goes a long way in terms of just developing those dialogues. And you’ll meet really interesting people, and you’ll learn things that you never thought you needed to know... It allows you to pose the questions to yourself that you need to challenge yourself in terms of your own work.”
Chicago-based sculptor Neil Goodman completed an MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in 1979. Subsequently, he cofounded the art department at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, where he has been a professor ever since. His work has been collected in public and private collections and has appeared in numerous periodicals, including Art Forum, Art in America, Art News, and Sculpture Magazine. His many public commissions include permanent sculptural and wall installations at the Chicago McCormick Place South Pavilion, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, and Indiana University Northwest. Goodman is represented by Perimeter Gallery in Chicago.
Celebrated painted April Gornik delves into her work methods and the importance of maintaining a personal vision in this intimate and relaxed webinar.
“I’ve tried many time to imitate other artists whose work I admire…. But just trying to let myself do what I do—it’s not so easy for any artist—to accept that you have a certain kind of sensibility. I won’t even say style, because I think style comes from sensibility. It takes a lot to admit that and then let yourself do it, but I think that’s your best chance of becoming a real artist.“
April Gornik is a landscape painter based in New York and primarily represented by Danese/Corey gallery. Born in Cleveland in 1953, Gornik studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art as an undergraduate before transferring to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. At NSCAD she focused on conceptual art before discovering her love of painting. She graduated in 1976 and briefly taught painting as NSCAD and spent time traveling in Europe before eventually settling in New York. In the 1980s she became represented by Edward Thorp Gallery, where she remained until the late 1990s. Gornik began working with Danese gallery (now Danese/Corey gallery) in the early 2000s. Gornik’s extensive exhibition record includes nearly thirty-five years of solo shows at venues such as Edward Thorpe Gallery, New York; Danese, New York; Heckscher Museum, Huntington, New York; Harley Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, Colorado; The University of the Arts, Philadelphia; Barbara Edwards Contemporary, Toronto; The Sable-Castelli Gallery, Toronto; and Galerie Springer, Berlin. Selected group exhibitions included “Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts” at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; “Mixed Greens” at Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York; “Drawn to Cleveland” at Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; “New Old Masters” at the National Museum of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland; “The 237th Summer Exhibition, 2005” at the Royal Academy, London, England; “The Tree” at James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai; and the American Pavilion at the 1984 Venice Biennale. Selected public collections in which Gornik’s work belongs include the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the United States Embassy, Beijing; the United States Embassy, Moscow; and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Artist, critic, curator and educator Michelle Grabner talks about balancing a regional focus with an international interest, and how she successfully integrated family life with her renowned art career.
“I see too much effort being placed on trying to kind of secure one’s location here in Chicago when one can work here and actually leave a more interesting footprint outside of the city.”
Michelle Grabner is a Professor and the Chair of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Painting and Drawing department. She earned her BFA (1984) and MA (1987) from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA (1990) from Northwestern University, IL. Grabner is the Director of The Suburban, a gallery in Oak Park, IL, and the Poor Farm, Little Wolf, WI. Grabner has exhibited in such venues as Tate St. Ives, England; Leo Koenig, NY; Cranbrook Art Museum, MI; Gallery 16, San Francisco; and Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago. Her writing has been published in Artforum; Xtra and Frieze, in addition to many others. Her work can be found in collections around the world including DaimlerChrysler, Berlin; the Milwaukee Art Museum; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
In this webinar, artist Josh Harker offers his advice for having a successful Kickstarter project and gives his tips for what does and doesn't work for online fundraising. With his Kickstarter project, Harker joined the ranks of top Kickstarter campaigns and ultimately became the third largest funded arts campaign on the site to date.
Q: "Look at it [KickStarter] for what you can do within your own networks… it is more about breaking some rules and using it as a tool."
Harker built a wildly successful marketing strategy and business plan for selling his work online. Along with his Etsy store, Harker's work can be found in over 15 retailers around the world and has been featured in a host of publications including WIRED Magazine, TIME, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Huffington Post, PC World, 3D Artist Magazine, National Geographic, Popular Science and the Chicago Tribune.
Season One "Work of Art" runner-up Peregrine Honig talks about her career before and after the television show, the inspiration that comes from her global travels, and the intersection of her life as a fine artist and a small business owner. She also engages in an in-depth discussion with the Klein Artist Works group about how a writing practice can help sustain a focused visual practice.
"Sometimes writing can keep me from making something goofy just because I can. It makes me take myself seriously. It's important to have that way to be at peace with trying to sound intelligent."
San Francisco-born, Kansas City-based artist, Peregrine Honig was the runner-up on the first season of Bravo's "Work of Art" television program. Honig’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Albright Knox, Buffalo, NY; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. Honig's work has been exhibited in such venues as Dwight Hackett Projects in Santa Fe; Geschiedle Gallery in Chicago; International Print Center, New York; Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; and the Frye Art Museum, Seattle. The artist recently produced a magazine titled Widow, in collaboration with Landfall Press, that explores the relationship between fashion and art. Honig studied at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Emmett Kerrigan is a prolific Chicago artist whose practice is equal parts painter and woodworker. In the course of this studio visit, Kerrigan covers a number of topics regarding his process, his work and how he established his relationship with Chicago art dealer and gallery owner, Linda Warren. Additionally, he reveals his work as a day trader and its relationship to his art.
"Having someone lay down paint for you - that would drive me nuts."
Over the last ten years, Kerrigan's work has been in numerous solo shows in galleries and exhibitions across the Midwest. These include the Elmhurst Art Museum, the Union League Club and the Beverly Art Center. His work has been shown in group shows at ART Chicago, Judy Saslow Gallery and the Morlen Sinoway Atelier.
A gifted painter and highly opinionated commenter on art today discusses creating art within a century long overview and the art world politics surrounding what has and has not served him well.
“I’m known in the art world as being one of the people that says ‘no.’ I like to say, ‘No, I don’t buy it’ and ‘No, I don’t believe in that.’ I disagree. I like to question authority.”
Chicago-based painter Wesley Kimler’s solo exhibitions include those at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Struve Gallery, Chicago; LA Louver Gallery, Los Angeles; and Barbara Kornblatt, Washington DC. His work can be found in collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Northern Illinois University Art Museum, Dekalb, IL; and the Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL.
Renowned painter Vera Klement shares her energy with Klein Artist Works participants as she tells the story of her life, discusses the evolution of her artwork, and shares the value she places on intuition and the subconscious.
"I think artists are links in a chain. Unlike today, [when] it's a more Oedipal thing: whatever is going on, you kill it off. And then you replace it with your own short-lived thing. And so it's stop and start, and stop and start. And I prefer the concept of a chain that's continuous. I want to be a link in a chain that has Cézanne in it…. Everybody's in that damn chain."
Vera Klement was born in 1929 in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland), an independent German Hanseatic quasi-state, and she immigrated with her family to New York City in 1938. She enrolled at the prestigious High School of Music and Art, where she studied Cubism, and after she attended Cooper Union, graduating in 1950. Klement, with her husband of the time, left New York for Chicago in 1964. She joined Participating Artists of Chicago (PAC) as the group's Treasurer and in 1969 she began teaching at the University of Chicago, where she remained until 1995. She helped found Artemisia Gallery, an artist-run exhibition space dedicated to showing only women's work, in the fall of 1973. Klement's work sits in a number of major collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smart Museum at the University of Chicago, and she has enjoyed retrospective exhibitions at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center. Her numerous awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award, and she has been recognized by the Union League Club as a Lifetime Distinguished Artist Member. Klement is the focus of the short 2010 documentary Blunt Edge. She lives in Chicago and shows with Zolla/Lieberman Gallery.
Artist Tom Knechtel talks freely about the dangers of becoming overly-committed to one medium, the ups and downs of working slowly, and why he considers sunny Los Angeles the "production center" of art in the United States.
"One of the only things that the art world can really give you is your peers. When you start becoming an artist you're not promised you're going to have a dealer, you're not promised you're going to have sales, you're not promised the world is going to pay any attention to you. But the one thing you can do is, you can build a network of peers. And I've been bemused when I find artists who are so jealous of their peers that they can't be close with them, that they can't be friends with them. And I think those kind of friendships are very key, they're very important, and you have to nurture them."
Tom Knechtel was born in Palo Alto, California in 1952. He graduated with a BFA and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, after which he taught at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He also worked at the LA Weekly newspaper for twenty-five years, primarily in advertising design. Currently, he teaches at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Knechtel's 2002 twenty-five year retrospective, On Wanting to Grow Horns, traveled from the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, North Carolina, to the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design; The Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu; and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. His work sits in a number of prestigious collections, including that of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; The Berardo Collection, Lisbon, Portugal; and the Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Sintra, Portugal. Knechtel lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Marc Selwyn Fine Art.
Renowned painter, Mark Kostabi talks about his path to becoming one of the world’s most prolific and talked about artists, and also outlines his six rules for making it in the art world.
“A mistake that artists frequently make is that they think, ‘If only I could get a gallery to represent my work, then all my problems would be solved.’ The mistake is the singularity. They shouldn’t be saying, ‘If only I could get a gallery’; they should be thinking, ‘If only I could get ten galleries,’ because one is not enough.”
Mark Kostabi has been a significant figure in the contemporary art world since the 1980s, and his paintings are held in permanent collections around the world including Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome. Retrospectives of Kostabi’s works have been held in Japan and Estonia, and he has been featured in a wide array of books, art publications, television programs and documentary films. Kostabi also hosts his own television show, The Kostabi Show.
As an artist and educator, Sarah Krepp gives her advice on choosing the right gallery and how to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship with your dealer, while also sharing her story of successfully balancing parenthood, teaching and the studio.
“We’re so lucky to have our work because it takes us away from parts of ourselves, and also into wonderful areas of creativity and hope.”
Chicago-based artist Sarah Krepp has been a staple in the city’s art community since the 1980s, exhibiting in such venues as the California Museum of Art; the Hellenic American Institute, Athens, Greece; Dan Galleria, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Governors State University; and the Chicago Cultural Center amongst many others. Krepp is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Painting Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and for the past 11 years, she has run “Dialogue Chicago,” a post-graduate critique program for professional artists. Krepp is represented by Roy Boyd Gallery in Chicago, and received her Bachelor’s of Science, Art from Skidmore College and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In this webinar, the Chicago-based painter Louise LeBourgeois shares the details of her rigorous studio practice, and discusses the ways in which narrowing her focus has had a profound impact upon her creative process.
“Right around the time I decided to start painting, I was still casting about for subject matter, and I thought to myself, ‘Well, I see the lake everyday, and water’s got to be one of the hardest things to paint.’ I told myself, ‘If I can paint water then I can paint anything.’”
Louise LeBourgeois is a Louisiana-born, Chicago-based artist whose paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States and in Italy. LeBourgeois earned her M.F.A. from Northwestern University in 1994, and has been the recipient of such honors as grants from the Illinois Arts Council and Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue, and inclusion in Who’s Who of American Women. In 2005, LeBourgeois co-founded the ‘NOLA in Chicago Network’, a group advocating for the needs of New Orleans and New Orleanians. She currently teaches in the Art and Design Department at Columbia College Chicago.
Respected Chicago painter Judy Ledgerwood generously shares her formalist, feminist convictions in this webinar, explaining her efforts to shock the phallocentric art world by painting with pink.
“I’m really interested in instability. I’m interested in instability formally—because I think it’s more exciting, because the paintings aren’t as static—but I’m also interested in instability because it seems like a more appropriate form for what’s going on in the world right now.”
Judy Ledgerwood is a painter, as well as the Alice Welsh Skilling Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University. Born in the small town of Brazil, Indiana, Ledgerwood was brought up by public school teacher parents who placed an emphasis on creativity. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1982 and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1984. Ledgerwood is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; 1201PE, Los Angeles; Concept Art Gallery, Pittsburgh; Tracy Williams Ltd., New York; and Häusler Contemporary, Munich and Zurich. Her works belongs to the collections of such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles; and the Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee. Ledgerwood has been exhibiting in group shows since at least 1987, and in solo shows since at least 1989, including at such locations as Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston; the Graham Foundation, Chicago; the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago; Feigen Contemporary, New York; The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago; Richard Green Gallery, Santa Monica; and Scott Hanson Gallery, New York. Ledgerwood is married to successful artist and University of Illinois at Chicago professor Tony Tasset.
Internationally renowned artist Laura Letinsky invites Klein Artist Works into her studio to discuss her engagement with the still life genre and her choice of photography as a medium to create conceptual pictures, as well as her teaching career, balancing motherhood with being an artist, and gender inequity in the art world.
“My modus operandi is that you can try and make things that will sell––that could be your goal, to try to make things that will sell and to be successful and be like a super-stellar artist––but you might fail. And then, if you fail, you risk the chance of not even having done what you want to do. And so, having a kind of freedom in terms of teaching, to at least do what I want to do, and then, hopefully, having other people be interested in that, seemed to me a better option.”
Canadian-born Laura Letinsky is a tenured Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. She completed a B.F.A. at the University of Manitoba in 1986 and an M.F.A. at Yale University in 1991. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and is held in many public and private collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Among her numerous grants and awards, Letinsky was a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 2000. She is represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, and lives and works in Chicago.
International artist Markus Linnenbrink talks with Klein Artist Work participants about the value of having a balanced life, being driven by one’s own passion, and getting away from the siren song of stardom.
“Early in my career things were a little frustrating. You know, I was like, ‘Damn! I’m never getting this grant or that grant… I’m not showing here, I’m not showing there…. So I thought, ‘You know what? I’m just going to cancel all my Art Forum subscriptions and I’m not going to be like, ‘Oh, god, my show wasn’t reviewed,’ or whatever. I let go of all of that. It was a very personal decision, but for me a very healthy decision because it freed me to focus on what I do and not get too tight. Because desperation—you know, you can smell desperation. You can smell it on the dealer’s side, and the dealer can smell it on the artist’s side, or the curator’s or whatever. And it’s not a good odor.”
Markus Linnenbrink is an international artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Linnenbrink was born in the industrial city of Dortmund, Germany in 1961. He studied for three years at the University of Kassel before moving to Berlin, where he completed his degree at the Academy of Arts. For the past twenty-five he has been able to work as a full-time artist. Linnenbrink’s extensive exhibition history includes shows at such venues as the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Philadelphia; Kong Tomlinson Contemporary, New York; number35, New York; Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Galerie Fiedler Contemporary, Cologne; Märkisches Museum, Witten, Germany; Museum Neue Galerie, Kassel; The Columns, Seoul; and Ana Serratosa Gallery, Valencia. Linnenbrink is represented by Ameringer McEnery Yohe Gallery in New York, Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco, taubert contemporary in Berlin, and Galeria Max Estrella in Madrid. Prints of Linnenbrink’s work are available through Center Street Studio in Milton Village, Massachusetts, as are editions through the online-based Maharam Digital Projects.
Sharon Louden, a New York-based painter and animator, joins Klein Artist Works to talk about the power of being a cultural producer, the ways artists can support each other, and her wildly successful new book, “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists.”
“I think the artists who want something else besides staying at home, or painting by an easel, or whatever it is, they’re going to have to do something themselves to make that happen. I think that the artists who are doing more outside their initial practices are the one’s who are getting traction, who are making more inroads… I don’t see it as a division of a career either. Just because I’m doing all these different things—I’m curating, I’m doing a book, I teach—doesn’t mean I have all these careers. I have one career. I don’t see it as any different.”
Sharon Louden is a widely exhibited artist, an academic, and the editor of the book “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists.” Louden was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Olney, Maryland, near Washington D.C. She attended the School of the Art Institute for a BFA (1988) and Yale University, School of Art for an MFA (1991). Louden has participated in numerous group exhibitions and in solo exhibitions at such venues as Dee/Glasoe Gallery, New York City; Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery, New York City; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Numark Gallery, Washington D.C.; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; Gallery Joe, Philadelphia; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; and Burnet Art Gallery, Minneapolis. She is represented by Beta Pictoris Gallery in Birmingham, AL; Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York City; and Patrick Heide Contemporary Art in London. Her work is in permanent collections such as that of the Neuberger Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, AT&T, Microsoft, and Yahoo! Corporate Headquarters.
Louden has also taught for over 20 years, including at the Kansas City Art Institute, the Massachusetts College of Art, the Maryland Institute College of Art, the University of North Texas, Vanderbilt University, and the Tyler School of Art. She is currently a Visiting Artist at the New York Academy of Art, where she teaches and organizes the Professional Practice Lecture Series. Louden sits on the Board of Seed Space and the Advisory Committee for the Cannonball Visiting Residency Program, and she is a founding member of the Arts Advisory Council for the New York Academy of Art. “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life” (2013) is published by Intellect Books and distributed by the University of Chicago Press. It is #1 on Amazon.com’s Bestseller List of Business Art References and is on Hyperallergic’s List of Top Art Books of 2013. As of April 2014, the book is already in its fourth printing and Louden is on a national, 50+ stop book tour. Louden lives in Brooklyn with her husband, jazz musician and composer Vinson Valega.
Artist and writer Joanne Mattera relates her long journey to becoming a fully self-supporting artist, courting New York City galleries, and her blog addressing marketing in the art world.
“My primary objective is to make good art in the studio––that’s 50% of it––and then the other part of it is to get that work from the studio and out into the world. For me, the way I do that is through gallery relationships... Those are my two goals: make it, sell it.”
Joanne Mattera has exhibited her encaustic paintings engaging color and geometric order extensively across the country for over twenty years and is represented by galleries nationwide. She earned an M.A. in Visual Arts from Goddard College in Vermont and a B.F.A. in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Mattera is the author of The Art of Encaustic Painting: Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented Wax (Watson-Guptill, 2001). She is currently based in Salem, MA, and lives part-time in New York City.
Acclaimed sculptor David Middlebrook specializes in large-scale and site-specific work. He candidly speaks about his process and materials, working both with public commissions and private galleries, and the continued growth of his over forty-year career.
“Do the most extraordinary thing you can imagine, that you are personally able to pull off, and you make a noise. Somebody will come along and discover you, and before you know it, things can happen in a really good way.”
David Middlebrook’s sculpture is rooted in his background in ceramics but utilizes such materials as stone, marble, bronze, wood, resin, and more to create fanciful objects that seemingly defy gravity while remaining cognizant of their materials. He studied art as an undergraduate at Albion College (1966) and completed an MA in ceramics (1969) and an MFA in sculpture (1970) at the University of Iowa. In 1974, he accepted a teaching position at San Jose State University, where he continued to teach until 2010. Middlebrook’s work has been exhibited and collected internationally, and he will participate in the Venice Biennale 2013. He is represented by the McLoughlin Gallery in San Francisco.
Renowned artist Jason Middlebrook discusses the trajectory of building his career in the New York art scene to live solely off his work, balancing commissions with sales in commercial galleries and art fairs, financial planning for an irregular income, and balancing career and family life.
“When my themes got a little more universal––man vs. nature, man vs. debris, urban vs. rural––I think things expanded for me. When you start to address more universal themes, your audience gets bigger. When you stop trying to be so clever, your audience gets bigger, because your audience is always smarter than you are... When I took myself out of the identity of the work and started looking at broader terms, I started to get more success in terms of the way in which my work could be interpreted.”
Jason Middlebrook creates sculpture, paintings, drawings, and site-specific work combining aesthetic precision, a deep engagement with material, and a high level of craftsmanship. He completed an M.F.A. at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1994, attended the Whitney Independent Study Program from 1994 to 1995, and was a resident in the IASPIS Residency in Stockholm, Sweden, from 2009 to 2010. Middlebrook is represented by galleries in New York, Chicago, and Stockholm, Sweden, and is based in Hudson, NY.
Multi-talented artist, writer, and non-profit director Adrienne Outlaw elaborates on strategies to win grants and engage the public. She and Paul also consider a classic question: what’s in a name?
“I think one of the things I do really well with my proposals—and I encourage all artists, or all business people to do it—is propose a win-win situation. I think a lot of the time artists say, “I want to do this, and you should give me some money because I’m an artist.” And that’s just not a good enough answer. I believe that in any proposal, if you’re going to come to somebody to show your work or sell your work or fund your work, you should say, “This is what I do and this is how it’s going to help your organization.”
Adrienne Outlaw is a Nashville-based interdisciplinary artist, a writer, a curator, an arts advocate, and the Founder and Director of Seed Space, a branch of the Nashville Cultural Arts Project. Outlaw was born in Orlando, Florida and raised in a number of locations across the Southeast. She attended the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) in Chicago to study fashion, and there discovered the Fiber and Material Studies program, developing an intense interest in materiality. Outlaw graduated from SAIC with a BFA in 1993, and from Vanderbilt University with a Masters of Liberal Arts and Science in 2004. She has reported on the arts for National Public Radio and a number of newspapers and magazines. As a curator, Outlaw has created the traveling exhibition TAKE CARE: Biomedical Ethics in the Twenty-first Century and ART MAKE PLACE, “a year-long program commissioning temporary, community and performance-based art for Nashville.” As the Director of Seed Space, Outlaw works to disrupt art world hierarchies by developing projects which pair together emerging and established artists, curators, and writers. Outlaw also runs Insight? Outta Site!, a program that connects nationally respected arts journalists with local artists, as well as a dedicated studio internship program. Outlaw is the recipient for a number of grants, both for Seed Space and for her own practice.
As an artist, Outlaw is represented by Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta, and her own work belongs in such collections as that of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria; Cheekwood Museum of Art; Tennessee State Museum; Wang Vision Institute; and WEHS-TV Chicago. She has has solo exhibitions at such spaces as Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta, GA; University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC; LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA; Freed-Hardeman University, Henderson, TN; and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MA. She has also shown in group exhibitions in such spaces as the Parthenon Museum, Nashville, TN; the Phippen Museum, Prescott, AZ; the L.A. Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, CA; Translations Gallery, Denver, CO; and the Krannert Art Museum, Champaign-Urbana, IL. Her work has been widely reviewed, including in Art in America, World Sculpture, Art Papers, Sculpture, USArt, FiberArts, and Number: an independent arts journal.
Jamaican artist Ebony Patterson speaks about the politics of art reception, what it’s like to live and work between different countries, and how her love of making motivates her.
“My passion for making is what drives everything else because fame is fleeting. And all these other things, like having a show right now—nobody may even be interested in showing my work in twenty years! I have to make sure that the work is what really gives me gratification.”
Ebony Patterson is a Jamaican artist represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago and an Associate Professor in Painting and Mixed Media at the School of Visual Arts and Visual Studies at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. Ebony Patterson was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She began drawing, painting, and experimenting with craft-oriented art works in high school. Patterson earned an Honors Diploma in Painting from the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking and Drawing from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. Patterson has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, Frieze Magazine, Huffington Post, Art Papers, Art Nexus and The International Review of African American Art. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at venues such as Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans; Frost Art Museum, Miami; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Brooklyn; Studio Museum, Harlem, New York; Museum of the Americas, Washington D.C.; the National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston; and Kunsthale KAde Amsersfoot, The Netherlands. Her work has also been featured in solo exhibitions at such venues as Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; See Line Gallery, Los Angeles; the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville; the National Gallery of Bermuda, Hamilton, Bermuda; and Alice Yard, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.
Brooklyn-based artist Mia Pearlman gives candid advice on a wide range of topics, from the concretes of corporate project design to the abstracts of maintaining a longterm career trajectory. Pearlman also discusses working in Europe, professional success and motherhood, and much more.
"Ultimately, what all artists have to confront is, your life as an artist is completely different from your career. The career is about ego, the career is about making money, the career is about having opportunities to to show your work. And those are all important things, but it has nothing to do with the quality of your work. And you can't let your success or lack of success in your career affect the way you feel about your work, because the one thing really has nothing to do with the other. When I go to the studio I don't think about my career, I think about my work. And I think when people let those two things get conflated, that's when they start having real problems."
Mia Pearlman was born, raised, and lives in New York City. She attended The High School of Music & Art before going to Cornell University for her BFA. Her work has been shown at such institutions and galleries as the Museum of Arts and Design (New York), Morgan Lehman Gallery (New York), the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (Alabama), Plaatsmaken (Arnhem, Netherlands), the Center for Recent Drawing (London, England), and the Manchester Art Gallery (England). Pearlman's substantial press includes coverage in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, Elle Décor Italia, Grafik, Machina, Computer Arts, and PBS Thirteen's SundayArts and NY1. She has been the recipient of an Artist Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2011), the Robert Clark Visual Arts Space Award (2011), a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2008), a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2008), and an Established Artist Fellowship from UrbanGlass (2009).
Holistic artist and educator Roberto Rivera inspires in this webinar about personal voice and creativity as approached through music, collaboration, and education.
“We all have needs of living, and loving, and learning, and leaving a legacy. What I’m trying to do is figure out how do I meet my needs, and how do I meet the needs of my community. And some people embody meeting these needs in an artistic and amazing way.”
Roberto Rivera is an artist, educator, and the President and Lead Change Agent of The Good Life Organization. As a teenager Rivera was labelled as an “at-risk” and “disadvantaged” youth, but several key educators and youth workers helped him to change his life. He earned his undergraduate degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he created his own major, “Social Change, Youth Culture, and the Arts.” He continued his education with a masters degree at University of Illinois at Chicago in Youth Development with a focus on Social Justice, Urban Education, and Hip-hop. Currently he runs The Good Life Organization, a group that publishes multi-media educational tools and trains educators, youth workers, and parents in connecting positive youth development to community development. Rivera is a Ph.D. student in Educational Philosophy, a husband, and a father.
From graffiti artist to internationally museum-exhibited artist, Carlos Rolón’s conversation covers integrating a contemporary aesthetic with an art historical language, the artist’s experience at the Venice Biennale, and making work that people will talk about.
“I’ve been able to capture the idea of making something visually stunning and put it onto something that actually has a story and a discussion. That’s been a really important turning point in my life and in my career.”
Chicago-based artist Rolón has developed a unique practice creating his own language in a mixture of sculpture, paintings, and installation. His awards and honors include the Joan Mitchell Foundation award for Painting and Sculpture. Solo Museum exhibitions include: Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan; Museum Het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands. In 2007 Rolón represented Ukraine as one of five artists in the 52nd Biennale di Venezia.
Groundbreaking computational artist Jason Salavon discusses innovating new media while sustaining a lineage from art history. In this studio visit, Salavon gives advice on simultaneously developing creative and business aspects of a career and relates his thoughts on grad school, building relationships with galleries, selling artwork, and teaching in a university.
“Find spaces where there aren’t crowds of people around you. Here’s what I mean by spaces: spaces for making. So if the hip thing to do is make this one kind of abstraction, I would avoid it like the plague... You get to be alone in a space and explore it on your own and figure it out, and hopefully, have the world come to you.”
Jason Salavon designs software processes to manipulate data and images sourced from popular culture and everyday life, resulting in the creation of photographic works, video installations, and software-based artworks. He completed a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin (1993) and an M.F.A. in Art and Technology at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1997) and worked as a programmer in the video game industry for several years. He has been awarded a Creative Capital Foundation Grant (2000), and his work is held in many collections nationally, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Currently, Salavon is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Chicago.
Pioneering experimental video artist Lincoln Schatz discusses the evolution of his practice from sculpture to new media and the importance of allowing his practice to change to find a unique voice. He addresses working both inside and at the edges of the art world, the ability to monetize his work, and the importance of professionalizing your practice.
“In any genre, in any kind of conceptual or aesthetic inquiry, there’s a conversation that’s going on. And the first thing you’ve got to figure out is, what’s the conversation, and where do I fit into it? What are my ideas? What’s the history of ideas? You have to completely understand that, because if you don’t, you really have no intrinsic way of doing something new, of really adding something to that history, of adding something to that field.”
Chicago native Lincoln Schatz works with non-linear narratives, multiple viewpoints, and random systems in software and video to create “generative video portraiture.” Among his best-known projects are the CUBE project (2008), commissioned by the Hearst Corporation to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Esquire magazine, and The Network (2012), a generative portrait of eighty-nine powerful figures in Washington, D.C., held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. Schatz has lectured nationally and exhibited internationally. He completed a B.A. from Bennington College in Vermont (1986) and received a CORE fellowship to the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (1986–1987).
Experimental artist and entrepreneurial brainiac Lincoln Schatz explains how working with corporations can lead to great creative freedom that working with galleries. Schatz also makes a case for how the art world has yet to catch up with today's artists.
“We’re all small business owners, and as a small business owner you’ve got to hustle, you’ve got to look for those opportunities. I think that the former model that used to exist, which I refer to as the fairy tale—that, you know, the gallery provides, the gallery takes care [of everything]—I just don’t buy that.”
Lincoln Schatz is an interdisciplinary contemporary artist based in Chicago, where he lives, works, and hosts conversations at The Arts Club. Born in 1963, Schatz graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor of Arts. In 1986-1987 he received a CORE fellowship to the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Schatz eventually turned from a sculptural practice to one that integrates video, performance, architecture, and new media technology. He is especially known for CUBE (2008), a series of video portraits commissioned by Hearst Corporation for the 75th anniversary of Esquire magazine and THE NETWORK (2012), a new media portraits of influential individuals in Washington D.C. Both projects belong to the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. Schatz has also had work commissioned by Qualcomm Corporate Headquarters in San Diego, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago, and the major Shanghai art collector Pearl Lam. Schartz is also a creative consultant for a number of corporations.
An artist who took part in the very first Klein Artist Works course, René Romero Schuler talks about her career before and after the course, touching on topics like balancing several gallery relationships simultaneously, and arriving at the place where she can articulate her making process to a wider audience.
“What makes something really of interest to people is linking it to something that people can readily access. I realized that my work isn’t totally a personal journey… Relating my work to other things pulled me out of myself.”
René Romero Schuler is a full-time artist living in the Chicago-area, and has received numerous honors and commissions including a New York Public Art Commission, The DAP Fund in Houston, Texas, and Living the Dream- Top in the Arts Recognition, Chicago. Schuler exhibits her work regularly in Chicago and abroad, and she is represented by Chicago’s Jennifer Norback Fine Arts, Miami’s Mac Fine Art, Onessimo Fine Art in Palm Beach Gardens, and Galerie Beckel Odille Boicos, Paris.
Chicago-based multimedia artist Gregory Scott talks about returning to the art world at age fifty, and the important basis of a personal vision in his complex, tromp l'oeil works.
"I think gimmick is a very, very useful tool. If you go to the art shows, you'll see a lot of gimmick work. The problem is, a lot of it stops at the gimmick. It's like, "Look what I can do." One thing I've always done and always will do is make work that, even though there may be gimmick on the surface, that's just to draw the audience in. Once they're there, what they're going to see can only be done by me."
Gregory Scott is a multimedia artist working with photography, painting, installation, and video and is represented primarily by Catherine Edelman Gallery. Scott attended the Illinois Institute of Technology's now defunct undergraduate Institute of Design school, a program founded by László Moholy-Nagy in 1937 as the New Bauhaus. After graduating with a degree in visual communications, Scott worked for approximately thirty years as a graphic designer, eventually opening his own design firm. Scott turned back to art when he began taking classes at the Evanston Art Center, and at fifty years old he began attending Indiana University for an MFA. Scott's work has been widely collected, both from art fairs and gallery shows.
Inspirational photographer and speaker Camille Seaman insists that artists can build their own path to success through a mindful awareness of true goals. She also speaks about parenthood, our connection to nature, and the importance of being able to slow down and truly look at the world.
“I find so many artists not only undersell themselves but they don’t believe in themselves. I have to tell you, each one of you, that what we are is we are special. We alter reality so that it is different. We offer a vision that doesn’t exist. That’s not only a gift, it’s mystical. You have to own that. Own it as a calling. Own it as a passion.”
Camille Seaman, a member of the Shinnecock Tribe, is a documentary/fine art photographer whose work focuses on the “fragile environment of the Polar Regions.” Currently based in California, Seaman was born in Huntington, Long Island in 1969. She attended the prestigious High School of the Performing Arts in New York City, where she was introduced to a number of museum and private collections and began making photographs. Seaman then attended the State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase College, graduating in 1992. At age 32 she began to focus on a photography career, leading her to study with such renowned professionals as Steve McCurry, Sebastião Salgado, and Paul Fusco. Seaman has now worked within over 30 countries, and has been published in numerous sources, including National Geographic, Newsweek, TIME, The New York Times Magazine, Camera Arts, and PDN. She has self-published several books, including My China and Melting Away: Polar Images, through Fastback Creative Books, a company she co-founded. In 2011 she became a TED conference Fellow, and in 2013 a TED conference Senior Fellow and a Stanford University Knight Fellow. Her awards include the Critical Mass Top Monograph Book Award (2006), National Geographic Award (2006), Nikon.Net Editor’s Choice Award (2006), and an artist’s residency onboard M/V Orlov in Antartica (2007). In 2008 she received a solo exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. for her project The Last Iceberg.
Acclaimed artist and Chicago native Buzz Spector candidly addresses the challenges of being a teaching artist while also discussing his artmaking process, collecting artists’ books, and the synergy of his overlapping work as an artist, teacher, writer, and editor.
“I’ve had to wrestle with a problem that all teaching artists face... it puts you in the position of feeling like you need to be successful when you’re in your studio. And this is a terrible problem... A day in the studio when I’m really experimenting is a successful day, but it won’t necessarily result in successful work. Whereas, when I have to succeed, any problems that arise have to be gotten rid of instead of examined and looked over, and I believe that you’re at risk of losing some inspiration in that way, losing ideas that might otherwise take root.”
Buzz Spector is an internationally acclaimed artist who works with drawing, installation, photography, and most notably artists’ books and editions, using text as art and exploring the book as both subject and object. Spector completed a BA in art from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1972) and an MFA University of Chicago (1978). The same year he co-founded WhiteWalls, a magazine of writings by artists, which he edited until 1987. He is also the author of numerous catalog essays, articles, and books, including The Book Maker’s Desire: critical essays on topics in contemporary art and artists’ books (Umbrella Editions, 1995). He has exhibited internationally, including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh. Spector is the recipient of numerous awards, among which are an Artist’s Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2005) and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1991, 1985, and 1982). He taught at Columbia College Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of at Urbana-Champaign, and Cornell University. Spector is now the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.
International artist and University of Chicago Department of Visual Art head Jessica Stockholder discusses the "unpredictable" nature of the market, and the importance of both talking about and not talking about one's own work.
"The art world reflects the rest of the world: there's a smaller and smaller group of wealthy artists being supported by lots of money, and there's a smaller and smaller group of wealthy dealers, and there isn't a lot of middle…. It's sad that that world has become so difficult for people to enter, that the criteria have become so fashion oriented. You just never know. You just have to do what you really care about and then take stock of what the best way to interest the world with it is."
Jessica Stockholder is a writer, educator, and artist who works primarily with painting and sculpture. Stockholder was born in Seattle in 1959 and grew up in Vancouver. She attended the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, then lived in Toronto for a year before going to Yale University for her MFA. After graduating, Stockholder moved to New York City. She began showing regularly and eventually accepted a teaching position at the School of Visual Arts. In 1999 Stockholder began teaching at Yale, and in 2010 she received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Emily Carr College of Art. The following year Stockholder moved to Chicago to become the faculty chair of the University of Chicago's Department of Visual Art. Stockholder has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant. Her work has been collected by such institutions as the The British Museum, London; the Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Le Consortium, Dijon; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Art Institute of Chicago. Stockholder has shown extensively in galleries, museums, and public locations. Her solo and two-person exhibitions have been at such spaces as Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York; Madison Square Park, New York; the Palacio de Crisal, Reina Sofia, Madrid; Barbara Edwards Contemporary, Toronto; Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin; Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan; Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris; and White Cube, London. Stockholder will deliver the Keynote Address at the College Art Association's 102nd conference in Chicago in February of 2014.
In this studio visit, painter Keer Tanchak talks about engaging with art history, the evolution of her work and material processes, fostering relationships with galleries, using resources like the bimonthly publication New American Paintings, and the day-to-day struggle of growing a career.
“It’s about getting that work together and not waiting for it all to happen––because that’s never going to culminate in one moment [when you think] I’m ready––but in the meantime, what’s that step? Apply for that. Who was that person who said something about that? Okay, email them. Just baby steps. That’s how it goes.”
Canadian-born Keer Tanchak works with metal as a base for her irregularly shaped paintings inspired by Rococo imagery and engaging themes of leisure and frivolity. She completed a B.F.A. at Concordia University in Montréal (2000) and an M.F.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2003), where she was awarded an M.F.A. Fellowship upon graduation. In 2009, Tanchak received the Artist Fellowship Award from the Illinois Arts Council. She is represented by DEAN PROJECT in New York City and lives and works in Chicago.
The Chicago-based, multi-media artist talks about his work’s relationship to the history of Conceptual Art, and shares his personal experiences getting started in public art and making art that will get you noticed.
“How do you get noticed? And there’s something about public art that it’s very egalitarian, very democratic. You really have to make art for the people.”
Tasset received his BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and his MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently a University Scholar at the University of Illinois, Chicago where he is also the Associate Director of Studio Arts. Exhibitions of the artist’s work have been held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; and Camerawork, London, among others. Tasset was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and was the recipient of The Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. In 2010, the artist’s work entitled, Eye, was exhibited in Chicago’s Pritzker Park as the inaugural installation for Chicago Loop Alliances’ “Art Loop” initiative.
In this extra-length webinar, candid teaching artist Dannielle Tegeder gives advice on a plethora of topics, from speaker’s fees and free studio spaces to the difficulties of parenthood for artists.
“When artists are showing 10, 20, 30, 40 years there’s a lot of things that happen in your career, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of different relationships, and maybe a lot of different types of work you make. For me, it’s about really pushing and evolving your work and making good work. Because, when I’m (hopefully) 80, or 90, or 100 years old, I want to be able to look back and say to myself, ‘I made authentic work.’
Dannielle Tegeder is a Brooklyn-based artist working with painting, drawing, installation, animation, and sound-based art. Born in Peekskille, New York, Tegeder received her BFA, with a focus on painting, from the State University of New York at Purchase in 1994. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997, and she remained in Chicago for approximately ten years before moving to New York City for a studio space courtesy of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation. She has since participated in a number of residencies, including ones in New York City organized by SmackMellon, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Wave Hill, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Henry Street Settlement, as well as ones outside New York organized by the Yaddo Foundation (Saratoga Springs, NY), Banff Centre for the Arts (Banff, Canada), the Triangle Foundation (Durham, NC), and Ragdale Foundation (Lake Forest, IL). She has been a visiting artist at over forty institutions, including the Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art, Rhode Island School of Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brandeis University, Princeton University, Rice University, and California College of the Arts. Tegeder has held full-time teaching positions at Cornell University and SUNY Purchase. She currently serves as Associate Professor of Art at the City University of New York at Lehman College.
Tegeder has had solo shows at such venues as the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College (Clinton, NY), the Knoxville Downtown Gallery at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN), Gregory Lind Gallery (San Francisco, CA), the Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery at SUNY Purchase (Purchase, NY), Herter Art Gallery at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA), Müller De Chiara (Berlin, Germany), Galerie Xiappas (Paris, France), and Arrónis Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City, Mexico). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including ones at the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), Beta Pictoris Gallery (Birmingham, AL), Islip Art Museum (Islip, NY), Lombard Fried Gallery (New York City, NY), PS1/MoMA (New York City, NY), the Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn, NY), the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago, IL), Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw, Poland), De Hallen Haarlem (Haarlem, The Netherlands), and Galerie Baer (Dresden, Germany). Tegeder currently maintains a studio at The Elizabeth Foundation, and she is married to Mexican conceptual artist Pablo Helgeura and has a young daughter. She also operates the website MOMTRA for art parents.
Ellen Hartwell Alderman describes the creative mission of Alderman Exhibitions, her innovative gallery space that insists on an integrated art experience, and she explains the importance of relationships—with artists, collectors, and other art spaces—in sustaining that mission.
"I'm a bit skeptical of this curatorial term, that everyone and their mother is now a curator. I'm much more interested in the idea of an artist's show being an artist's show. It's not my show. It's not a theme I've come up with. I'm interested in what an artist feels is important in their work right now.”
Ellen Hartwell Alderman is the Founder/Director of Alderman Exhibitions, an experimental gallery space in Chicago that she operates with her husband, Garry. She also serves as Program Coordinator at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, an organization dedicated to investigating and promoting contemporary architecture’s cultural position through public programming and the distribution of grants. Alderman received a BA in the History of Art and Comparative Literature and a BFA in Metalwork and Jewelry Design from the University of Michigan in 2003; an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009; and she is currently working on a PhD in Art History that focuses on architecture, urbanism, and design, from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Artist and gallery director Joe Amrhein shares the evolution of his artwork and his multiple art spaces in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while also reflecting on the utility of risk and the surprising endurance of art fairs.
“The thing that really bothers me about the art world in a greater sense is that it seems like a very class-oriented situation. People seem to think you have to have a lot of money to be a collector and you have to be in a certain class to collect work. And I think it’s the wrong way to approach it…. Everyone should be collecting work. Artists should be collecting work. Everyone should have that opportunity.”
Joe Amrhein is the co-owner and Director of the art spaces Pierogi gallery and The Boiler and a visual artist. Amrhein was born and raised in Sacramento, California, and he started making artwork in high school. With an older brother he learned how to paint signs, a skill that would support him for many years. Armhein took classes at several community colleges in Sacramento, including American River College. In the late 1970’s he moved to San Francisco where he rented a studio and attended classes and lectures at the Art Institute (SFAI). He moved to Los Angeles around 1980 and began showing at Fiona Whitney gallery and, through Turske & Turske Gallery, in Zurich (the galleries would merge to become Whitney & Turske). After his studio was damaged by an earthquake in 1987, Amrhein moved to a small island off the German coast before permanently settling in New York in 1989. Amrhein established a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and began work as an installer for Marian Goodman and other established galleries. At the prodding of gallery owner Jack Tilton, Amrhein began integrating text into his own work. Amrhein’s work has exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as Nusser & Baumgart Gallery, Munich; Uferhallen, Berlin; Lautom Contemporary, Oslo; Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York; Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco; Jancar Gallery, Los Angeles; and FireCat Projects, Chicago.
In reaction to the inactive art market and lack of community at the time, Amrhein founded Pierogi gallery in 1994. Today, Amrhein represents approximately 27 artists through Pierogi. He also runs Flat Files, a program that allows artists to store work in the gallery for visitors, curators, and other artists to peruse for sales or trade. Included works are typically two-dimensional, no larger than 22” x 30”, and sold at modest price points. The Flat Files are also online, typically with 8-10 works per each of the 900 participating artists. Amrhein also runs The Boiler, a larger space near Pierogi that allows for large-scale installation, performative events, and other happenings. From 2006-2009, Amrhein also ran a satellite gallery in Europe, Pierogi Leipzig.
Galeria Vermelho's director, Akio Aoki, describes how the São Paulo-based gallery prioritizes the Latin American art scene while still maintaining a strong international presence. Aoki also talks about the multi-year process of relationship building between the gallery, artists, and collectors, and how an artist's ongoing career should be more important than one isolated show or artwork.
"We try not to put anything in the secondary market directly. We try to direct all the sales to very, very strong collectors. Even not so rich collectors that have to pay in installments--some of them have installments of $1,500 per month to pay--we'd rather sell to them than sell to someone that we [don't see as] an ambassador of the art piece and the artist."
Akio Aoki graduated with a degree in fine arts before working as Advertising and Sales Promotion Chief of Toyota in Latin America, and then as Marketing Supervisor of Citroen. In 2002 he co-founded Galeria Vermelho gallery in São Paulo, Brazil, and since 2005 he has acted as the space's director. In 2007, the gallery added a new project space, Tijuana, for publications and non-traditional work. The gallery employs eighteen staff members and it participates in eleven international art fairs per year. In the past, Aoki has also served on the Barrio Joven Chandon Selection Committee, a group that chooses emerging artists for participation in arteBA, a contemporary art fair in Buenos Aires.
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Gallery owner Kenise Barnes discusses the pros and cons of being a working woman in the art world, as well as the challenges of balancing work with family life. Barnes also delves into a number of business topics, from the difficulties of commissions to the duties of a supportive gallerist.
“I love when I get a collector and the woman has a big job and is a total equal partner. Unfortunately, the economics drive this disparity in power across the board. And I think that happens, if you can make the extension, to curators, and gallerists, and women in business in general. Someone coming into your business might perceive that this business is not your primary income, or perhaps this is something you do only because you love it.”
Kenise Barnes is a curator and the director and owner of Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont, New York. Born in the central New York town of Skaneateles, Barnes has been interested in art since she was a child. She took many art classes in high school, earned a degree in Fine Arts from Cazenovia College, NY, and studied at the University for the Arts, Philadelphia before transferring to Temple University to pursue a degree in Women’s Studies. After graduating, Barnes moved to New York City and began working at the bookstore of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She joined Christie’s after being headhunted by the auction house, eventually rising to the position of specialist in charge of contemporary art at Christie’s East. After five years with Christie’s Barnes left the company and, after a brief period volunteering in the Museum of Modern Art’s education department, left the city to start a family. After two years she began exhibiting and dealing art in her suburban town, which quickly led to the establishment of Kenise Barnes Fine Art in 1994. Today the 2600 square foot gallery represents many artists, including a significant number of women.
Long-time LA dealer Molly Barnes shares her advice for a successful art career including how to land gallery representation, creating artist-curated exhibitions, and the right way to build connections in the art world.
“What turns me on is an artist’s personality --the idea that artists can talk about the work. Often, artists are just too interested in talking about themselves rather than engaging in a dialogue about the art that they’re making.”
Molly Barnes has launched the careers of many artists throughout her decades-long career as a Los Angeles dealer and curator, including John Baldessari, Gronk, Mark Kostabi and Robert Cottingham. Barnes was the host of the radio program, Molly Barnes Art News, and is the author of three books about the art business, including How to Get Hung, A Practical Guide for Emerging Artists. Barnes also hosts “Molly Barnes Brown Bag Lunches,” a regular forum for artists in Manhattan’s Roger Smith Hotel.
Author of ART/WORK and Director at New York's Mixed Greens gallery, Heather Darcy Bhandari talks about the changing needs of artists and the importance of brick-and-mortar spaces along with strong online presences. She also reveals the characteristics galleries look for in an artist who will "make it."
"If you don't have dedication to your studio and confidence in the work that you're making, no amount of professional practices advice will help you. It doesn't matter if an artist has a day job for 40 hours a week; they figure it out in the time that they have and they prioritize their studio above the day job and other distractions."
Heather Darcy Bhandari is the co-author of ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career, a comprehensive guide to understanding the ins and outs of the professional art world. Bhandari is also Director of Artist Relations at Mixed Greens in New York City, and received her Bachelors degree in Visual Arts and Cultural Anthropology from Brown College and a Masters degree in Fine Arts (Painting) from Pennsylvania State University.
Dealer and gallery owner Mark Dean relates his journey from working in the corporate world to founding DEAN PROJECT in New York City. He discusses art fairs, pricing and sales, the business aspects of running a gallery, and his decision to relocate the gallery to Miami.
“[Collectors] love the idea of buying at fairs. They like the spectacle. They like the idea of being able to bring their friends back and showing them what they bought. They like the conversation.
There’s an urgency in an art fair. In an art fair, the client has fifteen minutes. They can put a piece on hold for one hour. It’s done that day... the fairs are very fast. There’s just an impulse.”
Mark Dean grew up in New Jersey and studied business at the University of Maryland, College Park. He worked in public relations prior to opening DEAN PROJECTS in September 2007 in Long Island City, New York, located behind MoMA PS1. Three years later, he relocated to the Chelsea gallery district in Manhattan, and he is currently relocating the gallery again to Miami. DEAN PROJECTS represents a selective roster of artists and often exhibits internationally, including the Middle East.
The long-time gallerist and dealer talks about starting her business from scratch, her goals for showing living, contemporary photographers and her commitment to getting the word out about her artists.
“We're not worried about today. We're constantly worrying about the artist’s position within history and how their career is protected. That's what we're supposed to be worrying about: how we protect your career so down the road if you are successful, your output makes sense to somebody who wasn't around when you were doing it.”
Catherine Edelman Gallery opened in 1987 quickly establishing itself as one of the leading galleries in the Midwest devoted exclusively to photography. Edelman received an MFA in Photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is an active member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) and currently serves as its vice-president. She is also a member of the Chicago Art Dealers Association (CADA) and currently serves as its president.
In this colorful webinar, gallery owner Jonathan Ferrara describes his path to international success, along the way sharing myriad details of how his gallery operates and emphasizing the all-important reality of the market.
"Someone once told me that I'm a mother gallery or a breeder gallery. I'm like, "What is that?" They're like, "Well, you find them, birth them, and develop them." And the caveat was, "And hope they don't get stolen." That's what my career has been based on. The artists I have relationships with, they're not just one year or two years…. I'm not interested in a one-off show, I'm interested in somebody's career."
Jonathan Ferrara was born and raised outside Baltimore, Maryland. He finished high school in Western Germany after his mother was transferred to a US military base there, then returned to America for a degree in international business from Penn State. During the recession of the late 1980s he briefly worked as a bouncer at a Boston-area Hard Rock Cafe before becoming an banker. Ferrara began painting in the early 90s, and he moved to New Orleans as a fundraiser for United Way in 1992. After several years he quit the corporate world altogether to devote himself to painting. In 1995 he opened the gallery and artists' collective Positive Space together with three other artists, and three years later he left to open his own space, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery. The internationally recognized gallery features artists from around the world and shows at a number of art fairs, including VOLTA, Art Basel, and PULSE. Ferrara regularly produces major exhibitions beyond his gallery, and he is the co-founder, producer, and curator of the Annual No Dead Artists Juried Exhibition. He also serves as President of the Board of ARTDOCS (Artists Receiving Treatment Doctors Offering Crucial Services), which he co-founded in 1999.
Idiosyncratic art world veteran Foster Goldstrom explains his 4+ decades of success as a collector, consultant, and dealer, while also giving advice to artists on how to survive today.
“[The path to success] is really also about connecting, going around and putting yourself in places where you think people would be who would be interested in buying your artwork. And if you’re lucky you’ll find a representative who will help you do that. And hopefully the representative has connections with collectors, and museums, and writers who are able to promote your work.”
Foster Goldstrom is a collector and art consultant. Born in Palm Springs, California, Goldstrom’s family moved across the state before settling in South San Francisco, where he grew up. He worked on the floor of the Pacific Exchange, a regional stock exchange, before taking a position as a sales person in a gallery. This led to buying work and eventually trading up to the work of such artists as Picasso and Chagall. From 1973 to 1977 he worked as a private dealer before starting his own gallery, Foster Goldstrom Fine Arts. Later he opened other spaces, Foster Goldstrom Gallery, New York, and Foster Goldstrom Gallery, Dallas. Goldstrom is now retired from the gallery world, though he still sometimes collects the work of local emerging artists. He lives in Oakland, California in one of renowned architect Bernard Maybeck’s most famous buildings, The Guy Chick Hyde Home.
As Director of the one of the foremost galleries in America, Gray talks about the gallery’s successful business model including his rigorous criteria for the quality of art he shows, involvement in the secondary market, and maintaining integrity in the gallery’s relationships with artists and collectors.
“For a work to be satisfying for me to own and to live with, it has to be successful on a conceptual level and on a visual level. It has to have an intuitive access to it to start with, then it needs to succeed beneath the surface for me. Otherwise I get bored with it.”
Paul Gray is the director if Richard Gray Gallery, founded in Chicago in 1963. Now located both in Chicago and New York, Richard Gray Gallery is one of the leading dealers in modern and contemporary American and European art, with museum and private clients internationally. Richard Gray Gallery is a member of the Art Dealer's Association of America and Confédéracion International des Négociants en Oeuvres d'Art.
In this webinar, San Francisco art dealer Cheryl Haines talks about growing her internationally respected business for over 25 years, and also outlines what she believes to be the three different types of gallery relationships.
“There are always a handful of artists that do the heavy lifting and allow the others to enjoy the full range of representation of a gallery. There needs to be the generosity of spirit within the artistic community to acknowledge that, accept it, embrace it.”
Cheryl Haines founded Haines Gallery in San Francisco in 1987, which has since become a well-known source for some of the most important artists working today including Ai Weiwei, Andy Goldsworthy, and Dennis Oppenheim among many others. In 2003, Haines founded the FOR-SITE Foundation, a non-for-profit dedicated to site-specific art, and continues to collaborate with museums throughout the West Coast.
Chicago dealer Carl Hammer talks about the difference between a “public” and a “private” dealer, and the intricacies of working with estates when buying and selling in the secondary market.
“I never have thought of taking on an artist because I think I could sell them to my clients. It’s always been based on whether it satisfies me.”
For over thirty years, Carl Hammer Gallery has been one of the primary international pioneers discovering, exhibiting, and contributing to the scholarship and connoisseurship of outsider art. As a dealer, Hammer’s expertise lies in selling art in the secondary market, and he has contributed widely to the discussions of both outsider and contemporary art as an author, lecturer and curator. Hammer is also the former president of the Chicago Art Dealers Association and a founding member INTUIT, Chicago’s art center for the preservation and promotion of folk and outsider art.
Tim and Pam Hill share their love of all types of expressive art, explaining why their primary mission is to act as esthetic educators. They also talk with Paul about the varieties of art fairs experiences available to artists.
“It has to do with the material itself, the art. And if the art speaks to us, and it comes out of the arena of American folk art, fine. If it comes out of the arena of the academic, fine art field, that’s fine too. We were probably one of the few galleries in the very, very early period that was willing to understand and integrate these things and give them an equal dialogue.”
The Hills own and operate Hill Gallery, an exhibition space focused on contemporary, 20th century, and American folk art. Tim Hill grew up in Minneapolis and attended Michigan State University, where he met Pam. After graduating Tim taught high school history and Pam taught art before they began dealing in antiques. They became interested in folk art, and by the early 1970s the pair were selling at large fairs. This lead to an interest in contemporary art, and in the early ‘80s they opened their present space, Hill Gallery, in Birmingham, Michigan. The gallery was one of the first to place folk and contemporary art together.
Top Chicago gallerist and dealer, Rhona Hoffman discusses the importance of artists having a gallery, and the steps artists should go through when looking for the gallery that will best showcase the work that they do.
“If you feel that you are a fantastic artist, someone who is worthy of the hanging on the museum walls or at a collector’s house, then you need to be in a gallery. You have to get yourself into group exhibitions in small places; the group exhibitions where the lead dealers go to snoop around and find our artists.”
Rhona Hoffman Gallery, founded originally as Young Hoffman Gallery in 1976, specializes in international contemporary art in all medias, and art that is conceptually, formally, or socio-politically based. Since 1983, Rhona Hoffman Gallery has continued to show young and emerging artists alongside more established ones. Among the artists the gallery has exhibited are Vito Acconci, Luis Gispert, Leon Golub, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Sol LeWitt, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Nancy Spero, Richard Tuttle, and Kehinde Wiley. Rhona Hoffman Gallery is very active in the Chicago arts community and maintains strong relationships with museums, helping to place important works in their collections.
Gallery owner Kerry Inman speaks candidly about the art business, from gender disparity to the importance of clear communication with artist-parents to strategies for best representing art in a variety of media.
“When I’m interested in showing or working with an artist, sure, I’m interested in a body of work. I see a body of work and I visit with them, but I also get to know them a little bit and what they’re trying to do, what they want to do. Which means, yeah, they might change. That’s okay. They might not sell for two or three shows. I think that’s something we can talk a little bit about: commitment and when things don’t sell. That’s a conversation.”
Kerry Inman is the owner and director of Inman Gallery in Houston, Texas. Inman, the daughter of an painter and an engineer, grew up making art but was disallowed from pursuing her interest at the college level by her father. Instead she studied the hard sciences, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology from Colgate University and a Master of Sciences degree in Geosciences from the University of Arizona. She took on various roles at BP between 1982-1999, and since 2006 she has worked as a geologist for Cobalt International Energy. In 1990 she opened Inman Gallery to showcase local emerging artists. The gallery has since become internationally recognized, with a 2003 award from the International Critics Association and with several Whitney Biennial artists on its roster. Although the gallery has expanded its reach, it remains committed to the local Houston community and to work that demonstrates visual and conceptual exploration. Today Inman Gallery’s roster includes 30 artist, with active representation for approximately 15-18.
Tony Karman As Director of EXPOChicago, Tony Karman talks extensively about all aspects of art fair related subjects, ranging from marketing art, art fairs, and the power of the well-positioned art dealer. Karman discusses the metric by which dealers, gallerists and patrons separately judge an art fair.
"We are not a regional fair. You can't stir a region if you are not a great international fair."
From his humble 1981 start as security guard at the Chicago International Art Exposition, Karman worked his way to the top and by the time he left Art Chicago in 2010, he was the organizations outgoing Vice President and Director. In this webinar, Karman covers the nuanced decisions involved in organizing and running an art fair.. By partnering with art dealer Rhona Hoffman, Karman was able to secure the high level galleries and institutions necessary for successful inaugural EXPOChicago in 2012.
Stan Klein (no relation to Paul Klein) directs Firecat Projects, an independent, for-profit gallery that takes no commission from artists and is co-directed by Stan Klein and artist Tony Fitzpatrick. He discusses the innovative model for Firecat Projects as well as building relationships and business partnerships.
“This is your show, you’re in charge. This is your business––work it. I’ll give [artists] some tips, I’ll give them some guidance, but when I bring over a collector to meet them, it’s not about going through me. It’s about you developing a relationship with this person for the rest of your life.”
Stan Klein grew up in Cleveland and is a longtime Chicago resident. He is the co-director of Firecat Projects with artist Tony Fitzpatrick, his business partner. Previously, he had founded, owned, and operated MCM Fine Framing, a frame shop in Chicago, for over twenty years, and he had been a studio assistant for Andrew Wyeth and Ken Noland. Currently, Klein is focusing on developing innovative ways of funding Firecat Projects, including inviting collectors to sponsor solo exhibitions for emerging and mid-career artists. He believes in placing artists in control of their sales and careers rather than relying on representation. Klein studied art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is an artist, actor, and playwright.
Groundbreaking art dealer Greg Kucera speaks about his evolution from artist to founding one of the most innovative contemporary art galleries in the country, balancing a roster of regional and international artists and collectors, the relationship of artist and dealer, and what it takes to run a successful gallery.
“For artists to create their own studio situation where they can get feedback from other artists is really imperative for their success. To have colleagues, to have peers, to have people you trust give you feedback on your work...is much more beneficial than what an art dealer thinks about it. I truly believe that nepotism is your friend, always. And if you work your angles through your artist friends, and they work theirs with you, the whole art scene wherever you are is stronger because of that network.”
Greg Kucera is the founder, owner, director, and curator of Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle, WA, established in 1983. With over 6,500 square feet, Greg Kucera Gallery exhibits cutting-edge paintings, sculpture, prints, and works on paper by emerging and established contemporary artists and is known for thematic exhibitions addressing social and political issues, having held significant early shows for such artists as Kara Walker, Kerry James Marshall, and Ann Hamilton.
Innovative art consultant, dealer, and artist Jayson Lawfer talks about the trend of moving from physical galleries to the world of online galleries and virtual exhibitions, as well as the business of connecting artists and collectors.
“When you have a gallery, what you’re doing is putting together artists and collectors, and you’re the middle person that’s featuring all the work, handling all the money... It’s a partnership between the artists I represent, the collectors that are selling work through me, and galleries that are selling their inventory through me.”
Jayson Lawfer completed a BFA at the University of Montana and an artist residency at Guldagergard in Denmark (2002) before becoming the Executive Director of The Clay Studio for four years in Missoula, MT, including directing its exhibition space and residency program. In March 2008, he launched The Nevica Project, an online gallery and art consulting business he continues to successfully grow. Lawfer became Executive Director of the nonprofit Artreach at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago in 2010 and continues to create ceramics and photography.
Lieberman offers a candid discussion of the financial intricacies of selling art through the gallery, detailing the processes of financing art, paying artists and negotiating with different kinds of collectors.
“Young artists who are looking to connect themselves have to be always thinking their next move. After you've been in your studio for six or eight hours a day, you need to come home and say, 'what's my next function going to be? What can I do to prepare for tomorrow or the next day?'”
Since the 1970s, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery has been a top venue for contemporary art in Chicago. William maintains the aesthetic quality of contemporary artwork that the history of the gallery had established since its opening. By embracing a wide range of genres and artists, Z/L is able to offer a variety of work. Z/L maintains professional associations with the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) and the Chicago Art Dealers Association (CADA).
Longtime gallery director and curator Miles Manning candidly describes operations at Elizabeth Harris Gallery and gives advice on building contacts, reaching out to critics, and hosting studio visits.
“A lot of artists say that once they get a gallery they’re on easy street, they can just kick back and paint in their studio, etc. [But] the artist can still do a lot: come in on Saturday and hang out if they have the time, interact with collectors and people who are interested in the work, write letters and notes to critics…. Just write a letter, it works.”
Miles Manning is Director of Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York City. Born in North Dakota, Manning grew up in Philadelphia. He attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, graduating with a double major in Art and Biology (with a focus on botany). He returned to Philadelphia and took classes at Tyler University before moving to New York for graduate school at Pratt Institute in 1977. Originally studying environmental design, Manning soon switched to painting and drawing. After graduating, Manning worked briefly in a printmaking “sweatshop,” a frame shop, and as a freelance art installer before taking a position at John Weber Gallery. He moved on to a position at Castelli Graphics, a venue opened by Leo Castelli Gallery, before becoming a curator at Grace Borgenicht Gallery. Manning left the gallery in the early 90s and, after a brief stint as a plumber, became the director of the Danish Contemporary Art Center (DCA). He remained at the DCA for eleven years, until the government-subsidized gallery was closed in 2005. Following the closure Manning became the Director at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, where he remains today.
New York and Beijing art dealer Christophe Mao gives an insider’s view into the burgeoning world of contemporary Chinese art and successfully running an international gallery.
“In the 1990s, contemporary art in China was forbidden... Starting in the 2000s, [the government] realized the power to connect with the rest of the world through contemporary art, so they started to promote contemporary art. Now, they not only promote it but want to use it as a tool... Now, anything goes...as long as you do not do [something] anti-government.”
Christophe Mao studied arts administration and business in the United States, working for Sotheby’s and as a financial analyst for Time Warner, before establishing Chambers Fine Art in 2000 in New York. In 2007, he opened a second gallery location in Beijing. One of the first galleries to specialize in contemporary Chinese art, Chambers Fine Art held the first solo exhibitions in the United States for many notable Chinese artists and sponsored the first official Chinese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Since 2000, Chambers Fine Art has published artist monographs in limited editions, including Ai Weiwei: New York Photographs 1983-1993.
Owner of his eponymous gallery, Thomas Masters talks about the importance of taking control of your own creative life including advice on approaching a gallery,establishing career and professional goals, and evaluating the kinds of sales your work is garnering.
“The great truth is that the public that does not know the artist. When you’re selling your paintings convincingly to an audience that doesn’t know you from Joe Schmo: that’s the real deal.”
Also a songwriter, composer and painter, Thomas Masters has owned and operated Thomas Masters Gallery in Chicago since 1993. Masters represents artists in a variety of media with a roster that includes artists like Jon Langford, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Tim Anderson. Exhibitions at the gallery have been reviewed in such publications as New City, Art Ltd Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Tribune among many others.
Philadelphia-based gallery owner Bridgette Mayer speaks openly about the value of persistence, explaining how a commitment to local, emerging artists helped her build what is now a world-class exhibition space.
“My whole focus has continued to be to create partnerships with artists and help build their careers with them, and give them more attention, and help them make more money. And If I have less artists, I’m able to do that.”
Bridgette Mayer is the owner and director of Bridgette Mayer Gallery, a 3,000 square foot space in Philadelphia’s Washington Square. Mayer was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. She spent time in foster care and different foster homes before being adopted and raised in rural Huntington County. While attending Bucknell University for a Bachelors in Art and Art History, Mayer worked in the student gallery and interned every summer with various artists and arts organizations in New York City. After graduating, she worked at David Beitzel Gallery in New York for a year and took a number of jobs before becoming an art consultant in Philadelphia. At age twenty-seven she opened her own space, Bridgette Mayer Gallery. The gallery represents fourteen artists and shows many more in group shows and special shows. The gallery usually takes part in two art fairs per year. Mayer is also an Associate of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; a director of the board for Ready, Willing & Able, an initiative of The Doe Fund; and a board member for The Associate of the Arts, Bucknell University. In 2012 she was a Finalist and Recipient of the 40 Under 40 Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal.
For gallery owner and art dealer Monique Meloche, the relationship between gallerist and artist lies at the heart of business. Meloche welcomes Klein Artist Works into her gallery to discuss the role of the gallery in that relationship, the importance of networking, and her love of Chicago.
“I much more prefer a longer term relationship because that’s kind of the mission of my gallery. I like to foster young artists. I like to work with them through different points in their careers and still have them stay with me.”
Canadian-born Monique Meloche completed a B.A. in Art History from the University of Michigan in 1989 and an M.A. in Art History and Theory from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993. Subsequently, she worked as an assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the director of Rhona Hoffman Gallery, and the director of Kavi Gupta Gallery before opening her own gallery in 2000, moniqumeloche. Meloche has helped establish the careers of many young artists, including Rashid Johnson, and founded Gallery Weekend Chicago in 2011.
Top LA dealer Mark Moore discusses his gallery’s history in the city, their long-term commitment to showcasing emerging artists, and his role as a dealer in connecting his artists to other galleries worldwide.
“I think the best dealers are good communicators and the best communicators are teachers… It takes someone who is very skilled to try to make complex issues and ideas simple, easy to understand and engaging and compelling for people who might have an interest in whatever it is they're looking at.”
Since 1994, Mark Moore Gallery has been a leading site for the engagement of critical and cutting-edge art. Based in Culver City, the gallery explores the multitude of approaches to the making of contemporary art, and continues to delve into a myriad of collaborations and mediums.
Dealer, collector, and philanthropist Tim Nye doesn’t buy into hype in the art market. He discusses working with collectors, increasing the value of work, the differences between the East Coast and West Coast, and creating special events around exhibitions in the landmark New York Victorian townhouse that is home to NYEHAUS.
“The advantage of my business is that it’s very much not built on hype, so my business doesn’t have the volatility that the rest of the art world does.”
Tim Nye completed a B.A. in art history at Cornell University and an M.B.A. at Columbia University before attending the Whitney Independent Study Curatorial Program in New York. In 1991, he founded Thread Waxing Space in SoHo, a nonprofit contemporary art gallery and performance site. In 2002, he established NYEHAUS, a gallery with the mission of bringing the California Light and Space and assemblage artists from the 1960s, as well as the next generation influenced by them, to prominence on the East Coast. Nye’s recent achievements include curating Swell in 2010, a three-gallery exhibition addressing the impact of surf culture on these California artists, and Venice in Venice for the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.
Long-time Chicago art dealer Aron Packer speaks about the early days of his business, how he’s navigated his changing tastes throughout the years, and the ins and outs of maintaining his considerable stable of artists.
“I definitely hit that offbeat notion leftover from the outsider art tradition. I’m all about solemnity and seriousness, but you need to have something to balance that out.”
Chicago native Aron Packer was initiated into the role of an art dealer first through outsider and folk art, then later evolving an emphasis on contemporary fine art. His Chicago gallery, Packer Schopf, is known nationwide for its substantial and aesthetically cohesive programming, and its attention to offbeat, impeccably crafted media.
Art dealer and artist Frank Paluch hosts Klein Artist Works in Perimeter Gallery to talk about the business of running a successful and longstanding gallery, including establishing clientele and the logistics of the gallery-artist relationship.
“One of the ways I tell young people to [get started] is, you need to get involved with alternative spaces. It’ll show you how the mechanics of the show works, how you install it, how you light it, how you do it. It also creates sort of a fraternity of other people who have a like-aesthetic to you, and, also, you’re going to show there, so you can start putting some lines on your resume.”
Frank Paluch owns Perimeter Gallery, located in the River North Gallery District in Chicago since 1982. Originally established in 1977 as Perimeter Press to promote print artists, Perimeter Gallery exhibits and represents emerging and mid-career artists working in various contemporary media, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, ceramics, and fiber art, as well as artists with a Japanese aesthetic. In 1997 Perimeter Gallery moved into a 4,000-square-foot space designed by Brininstool + Lynch that was awarded by the American Institute of Architects. Frank Paluch is on the board of the Chicago Art Dealers Association, and he has exhibited his own artwork at Judy A Saslow Gallery in Chicago.
New York dealer and gallerist Franklin Parrasch talks about how getting gallery representation is not always necessary, and also discusses the demise of the exclusive contract and the future of the gallery system.
“Don’t feel that it is entirely necessary to validate your art by having a gallery represent it. If you feel like you’re doing something that’s relevant, the most important thing you can do is preserve the art. Store it correctly. Save it. Record it. Document it… It will find its place, if it’s relevant.”
Since opening Franklin Parrasch Gallery in 1986, Parrasch has been largely exhibiting Los Angeles artists in the city of New York, with an emphasis on representing work that explores how ideas and aesthetics evolve. Parrasch has become known as one of New York’s top dealers and gallerists.
Arizona-based gallerist Lisa Sette covers how to edition videos, what to do at art fairs, and how to submit your work to galleries (including her own) in this comprehensive exchange.
“Not in an aggressive way, but just put yourself out there a little bit. We are in it together, the artist and the gallerist are in it together. So you should be visible. You have to be. Because, you know, people love the gallerist—but they love the artist more.”
Lisa Sette is the owner and director of Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona. Settle was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and she studied art history and studio art, with a focus on photography, at the University of Hartford. She transferred to Arizona State University to complete her BFA and remained in Arizona after graduating, opening a fine art publishing company. In 1985 she opened Lisa Sette Gallery, which she has maintained for nearly thirty years. The gallery exhibits all forms of contemporary art, and represents approximately twenty-five artists at any given time.
In this webinar Gail Severn shares from her thirty-nine years of experience running an international gallery based in Sun Valley, Idaho. Severn discusses the transition from making to selling art, the myriad ways in which galleries should actively promote their artists, and the the usefulness of collaborative business practices.
"I always tell my artists when we get started that from my point of view the relationship is a lot like a marriage, that everybody has to bring something to the table, everybody has to work hard to make it work, and that we have to have communication. The biggest issue I see, when a gallery partnership doesn't work with an artist, is when one of the two, or both, aren't communicating regularly and openly."
Gail Severn is a fifth generation Idahoan and the owner and director of Gail Severn Gallery, a space located in the international resort destination of Sun Valley, Idaho. After graduating from the University of Idaho with a BA and the Rhode Island School of Design with an MFA in the early '70s, she returned to Idaho to teach at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. She eventually began to run the center's gallery and in 1974 opened her own space, Gail Severn Gallery. The gallery occupies nearly 12,000 square feet, contains four individual exhibition spaces, and represents approximately sixty artists from across the world. Severn and her staff also show at approximately four major international art fairs per year.
Print publisher and Pace Prints owner Dick Solomon discusses the world of print publishing and addresses the tricky issues of original prints verses artwork reproductions, editions, pricing, and various print technologies.
“The most important thing is it gets your image out. The way we try to sell it is we really think of ourselves as educators. We think that we’re educating a public visually and bringing them into the world of art collecting. Today, where the unique work is so expensive... prints are an interesting way of doing that.”
Dick Solomon is the president of Pace Prints, a New York-based publisher of contemporary fine art prints and a gallery exhibiting and selling contemporary prints from the 1960s to the present. Pace Prints has collaborated with over 125 artists since 1968 to create print editions, including Agnes Martin, Jim Dine, Chuck Close, David Hockney, and Shepard Fairey. Affiliated galleries are Pace Master Prints, specializing in late 19th century to mid-20th century prints, and Pace Primitive, specializing in traditional African, Oceanic, and Asian art.
In this candid conversation, the dealer discusses the best routes for artists to initiate and maintain relationships with galleries, and the role that ‘timing’ plays in those relationships.
“I’m looking to develop long-term relationships with artists; it’s not a one-time deal. That’s why personality becomes important to me, because even though I’m investing a lot as it is, doing one show, I don’t care if nothing sells out of someone’s show. I’ll give them another show. At some point it will work on that front.”
Founded in 2003 Linda Warren Gallery became Linda Warren Projects in 2011. The gallery has established itself as Chicago’s preeminent venue for emerging and mid-career artists working in a variety of media. Warren is a member of the Art Dealer’s Association of Chicago, and takes on numerous projects outside her gallery as an art consultant and as a juror for artist grants.
NYC dealer Winkleman shares his experience exhibiting and selling video art, and the role that the internet and blogging plays in his business. Winkleman also reveals the truth behind the 50/50 commission split, and how he feels about new art going to auction.
“I think that the business of the auction houses is to make art expensive. The business of the galleries is to tell and explain to collectors why art is important. Those two things are not in harmony.”
Plus Ultra Gallery (now Winkleman Gallery) was founded in 2001 by independent curator Edward Winkleman and artist Joshua Stern. He is the creator of the Moving Image art fair, which showcases only video art. The gallery participates in art fairs such as ARCO, Art Chicago, Pulse, Year 06, Aqua, and NADA.
Curators & Museum People
International curator and art advisor Leeza Ahmady shares her appreciation of global approaches to creative making and exhibiting with webinar participants. Ahmady also underscores the importance of thinking and working beyond one’s immediate locale.
“I would say that if there would be anything that could be beneficial to you, beyond just really focusing on your practice, it would be the ability to go to other places, to make work, to test out your ideas, and to interact with other kinds of communities…. There is some kind of a magic in that, and you tap into a whole community of people who might be interested in your work that you don’t find in your ordinary surroundings.”
Leeza Ahmady is a New York-based curator, consultant, and art advisor specializing in contemporary Asian art. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Ahmady’s family relocated to the United States when she was a teenager. From 1997-2001 she served as director of LL Gallery, a site-specific venue that exhibited international contemporary artists within a Chelsea nightclub, and from 2000-2001 she was co-director of Robert Pardo Gallery. Since 2004 she has served as director of Asian Contemporary Art Week, a New York City festival celebrating contemporary Asian art through exhibitions, lectures, performances, and other programming. In 2005 she founded AhmadyArts, a platform for her own curating, consulting, educational work, and arts advising. She has curated a large number of national and international exhibitions, including at such venues and events as The National Gallery of Art; the Whitney Museum of Art; the Queens Museum of Art; the Museo de Arte de El Salvador (MARTE); apexart; Art Asia Fair Miami; and the Second International Biennale of Arts, Kyrgyzstan. Ahmady holds a BA in International Relations with a minor in Art History from St. John’s University in New York, and an MA in Art and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute.
The TV host and former gallery owner reveals her list of the Top 5 things she sees in successful artists, and discusses maintaining integrity in your studio practice while making time for the business side.
“There’s no replacement for honing in on your skills. It’s one thing to be passionate and to be driven, and it’s another thing to work on your craft day in and day out.”
Alfano is a native of Chicago, and was the owner of both an international glass sculpture gallery and a textile design business. After being involved in the arts and culture scene for over a decade, she embarked on a two-year journey to become a television producer. The television show “Fear No Art” first aired on WTTW in May 2010, and has had complementary webisodes. In 2012, Alfano launched a new version of her show entitled “The Dinner Party.”
New Jersey curator Mary Birmingham looks back on her on terrifying exit from and successful reentry into the art world. Birmingham also explains the importance of art networks and her own emphasis on diversity, balance, and audience development.
“For a contemporary curator, someone who’s working with contemporary artists as opposed to dead artists, you are providing the material that I need to do my job. I cannot do my job without my relationships with artists. I need that raw material. … The truth is, contemporary curators need artists. You just have to hope they need you at a particular time or moment.”
Mary Birmingham is Curator of the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Born in the suburbs of Boston, Birmingham moved to New Jersey with her family as a teenager. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Seton Hall University, New Jersey before moving to New York City to attend New York University for graduate school, though she subsequently dropped out to begin work at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Birmingham paused her career in order to start a family back in New Jersey, but ten years later she enrolled at Hunter College to complete her graduate Art History degree. She became active in the art world again by writing, curating independently, and teaching adjunct class at Montclair State University and Kean University before taking on a position in the curatorial department at the Montclair Art Museum. Birmingham worked at the museum for nine years before moving on to the Hunterdon Art Museum and then the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in 2011.
Elmhurst Art Museum's Chief Curator, Staci Boris opens up about the ins and outs of organizing exhibitions for a small museum including answering questions about the relationship between curating and fundraising, her feelings on unsolicited submissions, and the kinds of artists who are on her radar.
"I think artists are keen observers of the world. They have insight into the world and society. I've been inspired by many artists who digest what is happening around them and filter it out in unique ways. It's important that artists be aware of art history and what's come before them, and also look to push the boundaries further…and do something that I've never seen before."
Currently Chief Curator at the Elmhurst Art Museum, Staci Boris began her curating career with 12 years at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago mounting exhibitions of such contemporary artists as William Kentridge and Sarah Sze. Boris also spent 4 years with the Spertus Museum as Senior Curator before taking a position as the Executive Director of Art Chicago (MMPI) until 2012. Boris received her BA in Art History from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her MA in Art History & Museum Studies from Boston University.
Artist and founder of Detroit’s Museum of New Art, Jef Bourgeau, talks about living and working in a city outside the main art centers, and succeeding with a DIY framework.
“Try to work with the art world, but not too closely, because it can overwhelm you. Try to keep your own independence; they’ll respect you more.”
Jef Bourgeau is the founding director of the Museum of New Art (MONA), of Detroit's artCORE (empty storefronts to galleries), and co-founder of the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography. Bourgeau is also a practicing artist notorious for his sculptures, photography and curatorial work that often draw upon current controversies and the willfully provocative. Bourgeau’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world including Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Institute of Contemporary Arts in Boston, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Galerie Eva Bracke in Berlin, and Malt Cross Gallery in the UK, amongst many others.
Curator Dan Cameron discusses the trajectory of his career from independent curator and art critic on the East Coast to founding Prospect New Orleans and most recently becoming Chief Curator at the Orange County Museum of Art on the West Coast, illuminating an international curator’s inside world of studio visits, conceptualizing exhibitions, and discovering new artists.
“Sometimes the things that stayed with me the most weren’t the most beautiful thing or the most irritating or provocative... A lot of my strongest and deepest relationships with artists are actually with artists whose work I started out really not liking very much at all.”
Dan Cameron is Chief Curator at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). Having been an independent curator since 1984, he was the first American commissioner for the Aperto section at the 1988 Venice Biennale and has curated many biennial exhibitions, including the 8th Istanbul Biennial in 2003. He served as Senior Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York from 1995 to 2006, where he organized some of the first high-profile exhibitions of such artists as Carolee Schneeman, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, and William Kentridge. Cameron subsequently founded Prospect New Orleans, the largest international biennial of contemporary art in North America, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2008. Currently he is organizing the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial for OCMA. Cameron is also a widely published art critic and was a contributing editor to Arts Magazine from 1983 to 1990.
The Chief Curator explains his role as a “proselytizer of contemporary art,” and discusses the idea of “newness” in relation to an artist’s ability to understand her tradition thoroughly enough to make true breakthroughs.
“I am a firm believer in trying to pick up on unusual quirks and idiosyncrasies of a place and how that also can bear on what you're doing and lead to something that is very unique and hopefully will set your practice apart from somebody else.”
Michael Darling is the James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Prioir to his appointment to the MCA, Darling was the Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Seattle Art Museum, the associate curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, where he organized Superflat in collaboration with the artist Takashi Murakami. Darling has worked as an independent writer and curator, contributing essays to publications including Frieze, Art Issues, Flash Art, and LA Weekly. He received his BA in art history from Stanford University, and his MA and PhD in art and architectural history from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In this webinar, reality TV and art world star Simon de Pury provides insight on the global nature of art practices and explains what all artists should know about collecting, auctions, and the secondary market.
“Very often it is the task of the galleries to make sure that the artwork is spread to different places both geographically and in terms of different collectors.”
Simon de Pury is one of the art world’s leading figures and is Chairman and Chief Auctioneer of Phillips de Pury & Company. Previously, he has served as Chairman of Sotheby's Switzerland, Chairman of Sotheby's Europe and the company's Principal Auctioneer. He has also organized numerous exhibitions, being the curator of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Since 2010, he has served as mentor to the contestants of Bravo's reality series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.
Norah Diedrich, Executive Director at the Evanston Art Center, explains how regional centers are uniquely positioned to assist contemporary artists. She also describes the many opportunities at the Center, from teaching jobs to fiscal sponsorship, and provides key advice on studio visits.
“Most of the people I see are working across disciples and they’re trying to investigate many problems at the same time. And they all influence each other, and I’m interested to see how that happens, what that process is like. For me, I don’t need to see just one focused body of work; I like to see a wide-open investigation.”
Norah Diedrich is the Executive Director of the Evanston Art Center in Illinois. Diedrich grew up in Chicago and as a child she began taking art classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois for a Bachelor of Science then moved to New York City, where she worked as Creative Director and Copywriter at the marketing company Ammirati & Pusis (now Lowe & Partners) for 12 years. She returned to Illinois in 1994, becoming a photography instructor at the Evanston Art Center and a member/officer of the feminist art co-op Artemisia Gallery. Diedrich worked for several years as Creative Uses Consultant for Polaroid before taking the position of Manager of Public Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. She earned a Certificate in Museum Studies from Northwestern University in 2002, and in 2004 she became the Director of Cultural Programs for the Alliance Française de Chicago. Diedrich took her current position at the Evanston Art Center in 2009. In addition to her other degrees, Diedrich holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Spertus College.
Van Eck gives no-nonsense advice on how to get your art out there, and on making the kind of work that intrigues both audiences and museum curators.
“I encourage artists to push their work, but also push them in a way that makes them stand right on the edges. Like in skydiving right before you jump: that edge, where you're comfortable and then someone gives you that push… and go see as much as you can, to see where your medium is and what your medium is.”
Tricia Van Eck has served as the Associate Curator at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and currently runs her own art gallery in Chicago at 6018 North Avenue.
Whitney curator Carter Foster demonstrates his profound knowledge of drawing and reveals how, on occasion, the curatorial process can help rewrite history.
“We’ve come to this moment where the word “curating” is thrown around as a verb and an activity that it never was when I started studying art history. I think we’ve gotten away from—the root meaning of curating is care-taking. And I started working as a curator because I wanted to take care of art in museums where I wanted to work.
Carter Foster is the Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawing at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Foster grew up interested in museums and art objects. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia with a degree in art history in 1989, and he earned his Master’s degree from Brown University in 1991. His first museum position was a summer internship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., followed by an internship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s print and drawing collection. In 1993 Foster moved to New York City and began working as a Print Specialist at the New York Public Library. Three years later Foster took a staff position in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s drawing department, becoming its chief in 2002. He briefly transferred to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as Curator and Co-chair of the Departments of Prints and Drawings, before moving back to New York to join the Whitney in 2004. Foster has curated such major exhibitions as Master Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art (traveling), French Master Drawings from the Collection of Muriel Butkin (traveling), Real/Surreal (Whitney), and Hopper Drawing (Whitney).
The hard-working Sergio Gomez talks about the continuity of identity across art world practices and the importance of allocating time according to personal interest, not expectations or guilt.
“I always was intrigued by this idea of, ‘What really is a full-time artist?’ I started to find this idea that a full-time artist is one who’s always in the studio. And I said, ‘Why?’ Art is not something where you’re going to check-in at 8 and leave at 5. That’s not how art functions—at least not in my experience.”
Sergio Gomez is a Chicago-based artist, curator, gallery director, educator, and arts advocate. Born in Mexico, Gomez moved to Chicagoland at the age of sixteen with his family. He studied art in high school and took classes at the School of the Art Institute before graduating from Governors State University with a Bachelor of Arts. Gomez began working as a graphic designer, eventually putting himself through Northern Illinois University for an MFA. After graduating, Gomez founded the co-operative 33 Collective Gallery with several other NIU graduates inside Zhou B Art Center’s warehouse space in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. Eventually the artists involved closed the co-operative and in 2004 Gomez established his own gallery, 33 Contemporary, an 800 square foot space currently serving approximately 28 artists. Five year later Gomez took an additional position as Zhou B’s Director of Exhibitions, working with two galleries of 10,000 and 15,000 square feet respectively. That year Gomez also began teaching art and design at South Suburban College, and he founded the curated online exhibition space VisualArtToday.com. With his wife he opened 3c Wear, a initiative that creates T-shirts using the original prints of artists and helps fund local educational efforts. Gomez’s own artwork has been shown nationally and internationally in a number of group and solo shows, and sits in such collections as the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Breuer Art Museum, and the MIIT Museum Internazionale Italia Arte, among others. Gomez has curated a number of well-received exhibitions, including “Chicago’s Twelve” and “The National Self-Portrait Exhibtion”, and he has established curatorial collaborations in Italy, Austria, Mexico, Spain, Chile, and China.
Curator, writer, and all-round arts advocate Tempestt Hazel talks with Klein Artist Works participants about the vitality of lesser-known art communities, and the deep importance of personal relationships to her curatorial practice.
“I don’t have to try to please the audience of a museum that already has an audience it’s seeking to connect to. I don’t necessarily have to think of a bottom line that a gallery has. I have a kind of freedom in my curatorial practice that can hopefully, exhibition by exhibition, in some small way, be able to give that visibility to artists who are being missed by the museums or the galleries. That’s really what I try to do.”
Tempestt Hazel is a freelance writer, independent curator, the Executive Director of Sixty Inches From Center (SIFC), and the Professional Development Director for the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC). Born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, Hazel moved to Chicago to study art history and art management at Columbia College. Directly after graduating Hazel co-founded SIFC, a nonprofit that uses text, audio, and video recordings to compile a documentary archive of Chicago’s lesser known art happenings. Hazel took a position as Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events before moving on to her current role at the CAC. As an independent curator, Hazel has worked with a number of organizations including Terrain Exhibitions, The Salon Series Projects, and the South Side Community Art Center. She is currently developing a upcoming exhibition for the University of North Texas.
Hogan shares a museum insider’s point of view, explaining how museums choose which artists to exhibit and how that artist’s work relates to the museum audience.
“My job is to translate what’s going on artistically, aesthetically, and culturally to a visiting public that is often very intimated by art, certainly intimated by the Art Institute. We try to make what people are going to see on our walls or in our galleries meaningful and comprehensible to them…So often we have to work with artists in figuring out the proper language to describe a show.”
Erin Hogan is Director of Public Affairs at the Art Institute of Chicago. She has a PhD in Art History from the University of Chicago and is the author of Spiral Jetta, an art travelogue about major Earth Art in the Western United States.
Curator Kaytie Johnson addresses the role of the curator in museums and the differences between public and academic museums, including audience, collections, finding new artists, and pushing the envelope with research-based and conceptual exhibitions.
“My interest as a curator goes far beyond visual art. That’s why I thought it was great working in a liberal arts college, because I got to collaborate with faculty members from all across the disciplines. A lot of the programming I did related a lot to a wide range of disciplines and teaching.”
Since 2011, Kaytie Johnson has been the Rochelle F. Levy Director and Chief Curator of The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadephia, PA. Over the past fourteen years, she has curated more than fifty exhibitions, presented and published numerous articles and lectures, and served on many panels and juries. Johnson completed a master’s degree in art history at Arizona State University in Phoenix, where she focused on historical and modern Mexican art, before becoming a curatorial assistant at the Phoenix Art Museum for four years. Subsequently, she was Director and Curator of the university galleries, museum, and collections at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, for nine years, where she also founded the DePauw Biennial featuring contemporary art in the Midwest.
Executive Director Kate Lorenz and Curator Aaron Ott of Chicago’s Hyde Park Art Center talk about the unique aspects of art center programming, their focus on art that continually pushes boundaries, and the role that the art center plays in the community.
“You have the ability in a museum or an art center to be far more challenging because you don’t have to worry about, ‘Am I going to sell this object?’”
As the oldest alternative exhibition space in Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center was established in 1939 and was also the home to the seminal exhibitions of the Chicago Imagists, including the Hairy Who? exhibitions of the late 1960s. Today, the Hyde Park Art Center hosts exhibitions, education, residencies, and public programming and aims to foster a collective spirit among artists, teachers, students, children and families, and the general public. Kate Lorenz has been the Executive Director of the Hyde Park Art Center since 2003, and Aaron Ott has held curator positions at several commercial galleries, the Elmhurst Art Museum and the Hyde Park Art Center.
Loring gives unparalleled advice for artists on marketing your work to appeal to museums, critics and writers, and explains the importance of knowing where you stand in the art community.
“In preparing for an exhibition, get engaged in terms of reading, in terms of internet and newspaper. Look at other artists whose work is similar to yours and note which writers are writing about them; these are people that you'd want to approach.”
Director of Media Relations at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Karla Loring has redefined the meaning of art museum accessibility to the general public through her welcoming, open-door patron outreach philosophy.
As one of the country's leading contemporary art curators, Shamim M. Momin opens up about her path to curating, and also shares her insights on mounting exhibitions of site-specific works, how biennial exhibitors are are selected, and the recent market pressure on museums and non-profits.
"I think that museums are much more conservative of late… I feel like in curatorial work it used to be understood that you try and fail --that is was ok to have an idea, feel like something is happening though not know exactly how to articulate it, and work it out through the curating process."
Shamim M. Momin is the Director, Curator, and co-Founder of the nonprofit organization, LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), which curates site-specific contemporary art projects in Los Angeles and throughout the country. Previously, Momin was Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she co-curated both the 2004 and 2008 Whitney Biennial exhibitions, as well as numerous solo exhibitions. In 2007 and 2008, Momin was Adjunct Professor of Contemporary Art for Williams College's New York program, and she was recently presented with ArtTable’s New Leadership Award. Some of her latest projects include "Perpetual Conceptual: Echoes of Eugenia Butler" as part of "Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980"; "Nothing Beside Remains," a multi-site, multi-artist exhibition in Marfa, Texas; and the "IN/SITU" program at 2013's EXPO Chicago art fair.
The High Museum’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Michael Rooks, talks about why he will acquire work by young artists, and also discusses the less glamorous, but fundamental responsibilities of the curator including archival concerns, deaccessioning and museum fundraising.
“While it might sound bureaucratic, I think that it is great exercise for me to be able to present a plan for how the museum work fits within the scope of the collection, and how we plan to care for it, show it, and also how we plan to pay for it.”
Michael Rooks is the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. Rooks also served as the Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Artist Relations at Haunch of Venison, New York, and held curator positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Contemporary Museum Honolulu, and at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. He received a Master of Arts degree in modern art history, theory and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Longtime curator David S. Rubin explains why all museums should be committed to local art communities and to increasing their visibility. Rubin also details his own approach to connecting the general public with contemporary art.
“My favorite part of being a curator, obviously, is spending time with artists and doing studio visits and things like that. But I would say my approach to curating is narrative. I want to tell a story, I’m very committed to educating and enlightening the general audience. There’s nothing more exciting than when the light bulb goes on and someone really gets the art for the first time.”
David S. Rubin in an independent curator, art writer, and speaker who has worked for thirty-five years at a number of institutions, including, most recently, the San Antonio Museum of Art. Rubin was born in Los Angeles and raised in the San Fernando Valley. While studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles, Rubin also took art history classes. A professor recognized his natural talent after Rubin was the only one of his classmates to recognize a forgery of an ancient Chinese painting. Rubin enrolled in Harvard University for a Master’s degree in Art History with the intention of studying Japanese art, but there he discovered his love of twentieth century and contemporary art. After graduating in 1977, Rubin became an Assistant Professor of Art History at Scripps College and the Assistant Director of Galleries of the Claremont Colleges. Since then Rubin has held such positions as Adjunct Curator, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Director of Exhibitions, San Francisco Art Institute; Director, Freedman Gallery, Albright College; Associate Director/Chief Curator, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (now MOCA Cleveland); Curator of 20th Century Art, Phoenix Art Museum; Curator of Visual Arts, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; and The Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art, San Antonio Museum of Art. In 1996 Rubin served as U.S. Commissioner of Painting for the Cuenca International Biennial in Ecuador, and from 2001-2007 as an international juror for the Florence Biennale. Some of Rubin’s most notable exhibitions include Old Glory: The American Flag (1994); It’s Only Rock and Roll: Rock and Roll Currents in Contemporary Art (1995); Birdspace: A Post- Audubon Artists Aviary (2004); and Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960s (2010).
London-based dealer, curator, writer, and artist Kenny Schachter talks about the course of his multifaceted career and the recent history and hard truth of the economics of the art market.
“It’s a very, very hard thing to do––to get a market moving. So the main ingredient is exposure. It has to get seen. The work has to be seen by as many people as possible. There has to be a critical response––newspaper and magazines, and the internet is really a democratizing factor.”
Long Island-born Kenny Schachter owns Rove Projects in London, where he represents such artists as Vito Acconci, Sanford Biggers, and Richard Artschwager. Previously, he established the experimental exhibition space conTEMPorary in New York City, which was the first interior space to be designed by Acconci Studio. Schachter studied philosophy and political science at George Washington University and completed a JD at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York in 1987. He has taught and lectured at numerous institutions, including the School of Visual Arts, New York University, Columbia University, and the New School for Social Research, and he is a contributing writer to such publications as Art+Auction and the British edition of GQ.
Demystifying the role and mind of the curator, Smith explains how artists can get noticed without gallery representation, and the best ways for artists to get curators into the studio.
“Get to the social events where people tend to congregate around art. That's how you're going to meet people outside your immediate circle and possibly get face time with people that you want to see your work. And don't be shy about inviting someone to come to your studio.”
Elizabeth Smith is currently the Executive Director, Curatorial Affairs at Art Gallery of Ontario. She served as the Chief Curator for Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and created many of the most critically acclaimed exhibits ever held at the institution.
Curator Whitney Tassie speaks about her transition from working in a commercial gallery to a university museum, including balancing local, national, and international voices in exhibitions and collections, the creative process of curating, and the importance of networks in finding new artists.
“That’s a challenge: navigating this need to speak to my local community and also maintain a national presence and a national voice... often, I have to speak differently to those two communities. I would say that my institution is more focused locally, but they brought me on to have that more national-speaking voice, and we view the institution sort of as a portal, bringing globally exhibiting artists to Utah and introducing Utah to them that way, through the museum.”
Whitney Tassie is the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She was the director of moniquemeloche in Chicago for nearly seven years, during which time she completed an M.A. in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2009). Previously, Tassie completed a B.A. in Art History and Archaeology at Cornell University (2004) and was an exhibitions assistant at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell.
Collector and Chicago art champion Chuck Thurow invites Klein Artist Works into his home to view and discuss his collection as well as his engagement with the Chicago art scene, his tenure at the Hyde Park Art Center, and expanding the base of art collectors and patrons through the middle class.
If it’s really going to become like the Renaissance, the artists really have to be talking to a much broader audience than is typical. The broad middle class should be interested in contemporary art, not just a bunch of really wealthy collectors. And so part of the idea of Not Just Another Pretty Face [a recurring commissioning project at the HPAC connecting artists and patrons] was also to get people who would never think of themselves as art collectors or art patrons to think of themselves that way.”
Chuck Thurow was the Executive Director of the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago from 1998 to 2010, during which time he curated many of the center’s exhibitions and oversaw the fundraising for and construction of the center’s current facility, which opened in 2006. Previous to being the Executive Director, Thurow had been the Chair of the Board of Directors of the HPAC. Thurow’s collection is comprised of ethnographic art––including Mexican art, textiles, and masks––and contemporary art from Chicago, which he began collecting simultaneously with becoming director of the HPAC. Thurow completed a bachelor’s degree at Williams College, a master’s degree in English literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in urban planning at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Curator, educator and writer Hamza Walker demystifies the history and workings of a non-collecting museum, and also discusses the wider role that curators play in the world of contemporary art.
“I think it’s beautiful to be able to create different contexts for work, and I love going to see a piece in an exhibition and thinking, ‘I would never have thought of that work in that context.’ It’s enlightening, but not confining.”
Since 1994, Hamza Walker has served as Director of Education for The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago - a non-collecting museum devoted to contemporary art. He has also held a position as Public Art Coordinator for The Department of Cultural Affairs and is a faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has written articles and reviews for such publications as Trans, New Art Examiner, Parkett and Artforum. Walker served on the board of Randolph Street Gallery and is currently on the boards of Noon, an annual publication of short fiction, and Lampo, a non-profit presenter of new and experimental music. He has participated in numerous panels around the world and is the recipient of the 1999 Norton Curatorial Grant. In 2010, Walker was awarded the Ordway Prize for his “significant impact on the field of contemporary art.”
Arts business educator and writer Amy Whitaker addresses creative economics and the possibilities of the intersections of art and business.
“I think part of my purpose in life with regard to the arts is to say that understanding business is not automatically a form of selling out. It’s another thing to be creative with, and it’s another thing to practice according to your own personal set of ethics.”
Amy Whitaker is on faculty at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, teaching and writing about the intersection of art, business, and daily life. She completed a B.A. at Williams College, an M.F.A. at Slade School of Fine Art, and an M.B.A. at Yale University. Whitaker previously taught economics and entrepreneurship at the Rhode Island School of Design, California College of the Arts, and Williams College, and she has worked at the Tate, the Guggenheim, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is the author of Museum Legs: Fatigue and Hope in the Face of Art (2009).
Noted collectors Larry and Evelyn Aronson talk about their decision to start collecting art in the Chicago of the 1960s, and how a truly great work of art participates in a lasting dialogue.
“The practice of art is a form of dialogue. An artist creates a vocabulary and tells a story. In a truly good work of art, the story asks a lot of questions, and when the viewer looks at it, he answers the questions with more questions. That dialogue between the artist and the viewer is what makes a work of art worthwhile.”
Restaurateur Larry Aronson and his wife Evelyn began collecting Chicago art in the city’s 1960s Imagist heyday, and have been buying a work of art every month for over 50 years. With a collection of over 100 artists (almost all of them Chicago-based), the Aronsons have become well known for their commitment to exceptional art that is a reflection of life.
Collector and non-profit gallerist, Daniel Berger explains how he’s acquired a meaningful, focused art collection, and also discusses how he navigates between collecting and exhibiting contemporary art.
“I like constantly looking at new work and new artists. It’s part of why I have so much joy with Iceberg Projects, because we get together with other art educators, and each of us gets to talk about work that we’re particularly interested in, and learn and be challenged by that.”
Dr. Daniel Berger is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, and is founder and medical director of Northstar Medical Center. Berger maintains a cohesive collection of Outsider and contemporary art, focusing on work by African-American, Chicago-based and queer artists. In 2010, he opened Iceberg Projects, a not-for-profit art gallery behind his Chicago home.
The collector couple describes their instinctive approach to acquiring and caring for their contemporary art collection, and also addresses art fairs and the notion of “looking (or buying) with your ears.”
“For us, collecting is much more instinctive than intellectualized. I think we have to look at it and if for some reason it appeals to our warped aesthetic, then we try to figure out what it is in that piece that makes it interesting. The longer you collect, you realize that although you're collecting paintings, you're also collecting artists.”
Peter & Eileen Broido are Chicago-based collectors who have been involved with acquiring contemporary art since the late 1960s. The Broidos have a wide range of works in their prestigious collection, composed of established, emerging and mid-career artists from around the world.
Davis, an enthusiastic and committed collector, outlines the “dos and don’ts” of a successful art career, and the many different art worlds artists must navigate to find the best place for their art.
“If your work is scatter shot and you're still figuring things out, that's the time to talk to people who are your buddies…but that's not the time to knock on the door of the gallery or introduce yourself to the larger world. You need to have a bedrock solid point of view and some degree of consistency before you interact with the commercial world.”
Dana Martin Davis is the CCO of Davis, Steel & Iron Co. in North Carolina and also a high profile art collector, with a focus on emerging artists. Her infamous networking techniques have led to the expansion of art collections across the country.
Eloquent art collector Dana Martin Davis returns to Klein Artist Works to speak about the fundamental role art plays in bettering human life, both on universal and individual levels.
“To [make art] from your perspective—that’s what you need to own first because no one else can speak from your perspective, your point. of view. That’s your context. That’s what has to be authentic, that’s what has to be legitimate…. And that’s the best way to be an artist.”
Dana Martin Davis is the former CCO and principal at Davis Steel & Iron Company, a collector dedicated to living and emerging artists, and a painter. Davis is a board member for the Metal Museum and The Moving Poets, an executive board member for the Women's Impact Fund, and a founding board member for NY Art Farm and the Women's Leadership Initiative.
Devoted collectors Karen and Robert Duncan share the story of their 2000+ piece art collection, and explain why “investment potential” is the least compelling reason to acquire a new work.
“It is important to meet and know the artists we’ve collected. We really make an effort to try to do that, and, to a large extent, we know a lot of them. We’d rather have dinner with a bunch of artists than anybody we can think of.”
Karen & Robert Duncan are longtime art collectors living in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Duncans, now married for approximately forty-five years, first met while in junior high school in their shared hometown of Clarinda, Iowa. Through his work for the family-owned business Duncan Aviation, Robert Duncan joined the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), an international network of young chief executives. Through his participation in YPO he and Karen began traveling, visiting a high number of art galleries and museums, and meeting other art collectors. Karen Duncan, a musician in high school, became head of the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra after the couple moved to Lincoln, and eventually joined the board of the Sheldon Museum of Art. The Duncans bought their own first work of art, an Impressionist painting, while on a YPO trip in Madrid in the late 70s. They also collect, among other items, first edition books, pie birds, and bicycles. They are currently renovating Clarinda’s Carnegie Library to transform it into a museum for the city and Southwest Iowa. With fellow Nebraskans Kathy and Marc LeBaron, the Duncans operate Assemblage Gallery in Lincoln, a private exhibition space showing work from their respective collections, and a by-invitation residency in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Collectors Linda Glass and Jeff Mercer are active, Chicago-based supporters of the arts. The pair cover many topics related to collecting and buying art. They speak candidly about their different approached to collecting and how they find the work they love.
"If it’s something that is life enhancing, we will find a way to buy it."
Their love of art began early. For Linda it was a High School visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and for Jeff it was an art history course in college. Linda continued her studies in Art History and eventually worked for Perimeter Gallery in Chicago while Jeff entered into a career in finance.
In this open talk, they discuss their respective approaches to collecting and the ways in which they encounter and are introduced to artists’ work. They review their history as collectors and talk about their acquisitions from art fairs, galleries, MFA shows and charity art auctions.
Video art collector and gallerist, Jefferson Godard talks about how he came to have such a commitment to the medium of video art, and also explains the intricacies of owning, viewing, marketing and selling art in this ever evolving genre.
“Video art is an avant-garde medium and I think that collectors are, for the most part, afraid of it. It’s a shame because the work is a wonderfully open medium… it’s much more democratic. The intellectual qualities of video are often much more tangible than other genres.”
Jefferson Godard received an MA in Architecture from Dessau Institute of Architecture at the Bauhaus, and is a committed collector of contemporary video art. Godard has served in such prestigious positions as Chairman of VERGE and Acquisition Director of EMERGE at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, he was a panelist at the Moving Image Video Art Fair in New York, and he holds a faculty position at Columbia College Chicago. Godard has curated a number of exhibitions of video art around the world and opened his own gallery, Aspect Ratio in Chicago, with prompt reviews from Time Out Chicago and Artforum.
Avid collectors Marshal and Victoria Lightman explain their project, Look At Art, and how it enriches the local art scene. The Lightmans also share their thoughts on Houston, on the process of educating collectors, and on the importance of regionality.
"In our class we tell everyone It doesn't make a difference--Chicago, New York, L.A., Houston--all those cities are regional art scenes by and large. There are a few galleries in each city that have, or that are fortunate enough to have, collector bases that will allow them to show national and international artists. But by and large, every city is a regional city. I find that the stronger communities that are really developing collectors tend to be from the alternative art communities."
Marshal and Victoria Lightman are active collectors who run Houston's Look At Art project, an initiative that supports the local art scene by educating prospective collectors and connecting them with artists during visits to studios and exhibitions. The Lightmans moved from Boston to Houston in 1985 and established Look At Art four years later. Both Lightmans have held a number of arts related positions. Marshal has served as vice president and chair of the Civic Arts Committee, as president of the board of the Houston Arts Alliance (2010-2012), and as a board member for Diverse Works. Victoria served on the Texas Commission on the Arts (2001-2007), on the board of the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County as first vice president and chair of the Grants and Service Committee (2003-2006), as chair of the local chapter of ArtTable (2008-2010), and she currently serves as president of the board of the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. The Lightmans both sit on the board of the Glassell School Core Fellow Program at the Museum of Fine Arts. In 2011, the Houston Art League recognized them as Texas Patrons of the Year.
Miami-based collector Martin Margulies and his longtime curator Katherine Hinds speak about their working relationship in running a public exhibition and educational space, where they find new work to acquire, and growing this significant collection with a cohesive vision to which Margulies feels spiritually connected.
“Everything that I’ve acquired over the years, whether I have grown or moved on, has been a learning experience for me. So the work itself is part of the growth of the collection, and without that work, the collection wouldn’t be where it is today. It’s all a matter of learning and continuous learning... It’s a sensitivity also to the artist. He or she is putting creative efforts into an object... That’s what it’s about.”
“One time a graduate student at one of the universities here in Florida came up to me and said, well, how do you get into a collection like this? And my response to him was: that really should not be a question in your mind at all. You should be asking yourself, who else thinks like me? What other art do I like? Who can I work together with? Who can I collaborate with? Who can I show my work with? Don’t think about how can I get into a great collection, but rather, think about finding your voice and finding other like-minded people.”
Real estate developer, self-made multi-millionaire, philanthropist, and passionate art collector Martin Margulies began collecting work over thirty years ago. Katherine Hinds has been the curator of his collection since 1982. The collection concentrates in postwar and contemporary art across media and includes such notables as Anselm Kiefer, Olafur Eliasson, Sol LeWitt, and Dorothea Lange. Located near downtown Miami, the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse was founded in 1999 and is now comprised of 45,000 square feet of exhibition and educational space open to the public. Margulies is also a philanthropist and benefactor supporting causes ranging from pledging $5 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to publishing a catalog of the Margulies Collection from which all proceeds support Lotus House, a shelter for homeless women and children in Miami.
As a unique brand of collector, the Collector-Activist, McCoy speaks candidly about the hierarchy of collecting art, and his experience using his power as a collector to foster and promote the art community he believes in.
“I started to recognize that collecting art means something bigger than just myself. And it also is not a very private thing. In fact, the reason why I open my doors and have people come in to see my collection is that I believe that being a collector is very public.”
Patric McCoy is a Chicago-based environmental chemist and art collector, whose collection contains more than one thousand paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, and assemblages of African American art. In 2003 McCoy co-founded Diasporal Rhythms a not-for-profit arts organization that promotes the collection of art works by living artists of African descent. McCoy is president of Diasporal Rhythms and a member of its board of directors.
Chicago collectors Michael McVickar and Brian Westphal open their Ravenswood loft to Klein Artist Works to show their sizable collection of paintings, photographs, and drawings and to discuss how they collect work.
“I think we like images that aren’t necessarily safe. We like works that stimulate conversation. Some of our pieces are a little edgy. Some of them, maybe they’re not so edgy but have a little humor. They’re all just beautiful... Hopefully the stuff we purchase is something that really sticks with you, whether you like it or hate it.”
Longtime Chicagoans Michael McVickar, a lawyer, and Brian Westphal, a vice president in a technology department, began collecting artwork soon after moving into their first home together in Roscoe Village in 1999. Within five years, however, they decided to move to a 4,000 square foot loft in Ravenswood to accommodate their growing collection of contemporary representational art. McVickar and Westphal continue to add to their collection, purchasing mostly from Chicago galleries.
“Fiercely independent” collectors Bob and Nancy Mollers give a tour of their extensive and diverse home collection and talk about collecting major contemporary works of art on a middle class income over the course of the past forty years, including considerations of conservation and how they find new artists.
“When it comes to the word “collecting,” I don’t know when you could say we were collecting, or even what that necessarily means. Because if you talk to a dealer, a client is a collector to them, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily what I would call a collector. I think a collector is a person who has some sort of direction or intent in what they’re doing.”
Having lived in Chicago and Houston, Bob and Nancy Mollers have been passionate collectors of work by living artists for the duration of their marriage of more than forty years. Bob, who was an elementary school teacher and has a background as a ceramicist, and Nancy, who worked in risk assessment management and has a background as a weaver, have often made sacrifices to afford new work. Included in their collection is a portrait of Nancy painted by Ed Paschke that has been exhibited in the Art Institute of Chicago, a museum to which they regularly donate work. In 2008, Bob Mollers co-curated “Stories to be Looked at, Pictures to be Read" at Zolla Lieberman Gallery and in 2007 curated “Presence” at Tony Wight Gallery in Chicago.
Chicago-based artists and collectors Scott Mossman and Raul Ortiz show their sprawling collection, and discuss the secondary market, de-acquisitions, and how auctions can affect an artist’s career.
“When people were saying ‘Oh, you’ve got to buy a house or a condo’ back around 2006 or 2007, when the real estate market plummeted and the art market too, we started collecting art instead…. We think we made a good choice.”
Scott Mossman and Raul Ortiz are artists and collectors based in Chicago. Mossman was born in Omaha. He attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha for a BA in Journalism and Art History, and for a BFA in Painting and Sculpture. After graduating he moved to Chicago, where he earned an MFA in Painting and Sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Mossman has exhibited at such venues as Nancy Lurie Gallery, Chicago; the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago; the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin; and Gallery 72, Omaha.
Ortiz was born in Mexico, and he came to the United States with his family when he was 5. He holds a BFA in Painting and Sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ortiz has exhibited at such venues as the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; the University Club of Chicago, Chicago; the Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois; and the Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin. He has also been an artist in residence at The Cliff Dwellers. Mossman and Ortiz currently have a collection of approximately 900 pieces of artwork.
Author and Collector Daniel Parker talks about developing and maintaining his renowned collection of black and African Art, and outlines the ways in which he uses his collection to help educate a wider audience.
“If you come from the base of your culture, like I have, collecting is partly about sharing your culture and educating the world. A culture isn’t something that you simply retain, but you cheer and you teach.”
Collector Daniel Parker is the co-founder of the collector organization Diasporal Rhythms and author of African Art The Diaspora and Beyond. Prior to becoming known for his collection of over 500 works (mainly featuring pieces by black artists), Parker worked as a counselor and educator in both the Chicago Public School and Chicago City College systems for 35 years. In 1989, Parker received a Distinguished Professor award from the board of the Chicago City College system for his work at Olive-Harvey College. Parker’s collection has been shown at Chicago area art museums, and he has become a sought-after expert on African and African American art.
Arlene Richman has been avidly collecting art since the early 1980s. She relates her passion for art, her efforts to share her passion through hosting salons in her home to introduce others to collecting and living with art, and the ability of art fairs to act as approachable introductions to buying work for new and entry-level collectors.
“The fairs created a whole different environment and atmosphere from my perspective. And I found after I would go to the fairs, when I would follow up at a gallery, you felt like you had credibility... it gave me a confidence, I suppose. And I found I loved it. I loved being able to experience art from all different scenes and dealers you could never get around to.”
Arlene Richman is a real estate lawyer based in New York who has also lived and works in Chicago. She founded Richman Law Group, Millennium Park Realty, and JMR49, Inc. Richman holds a J.D. in Law from Case Western Reserve School of Law and an M.B.A. in Management and a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.
Steve Shane prefers to be called an art lover rather than a collector. He shares his passion for collecting and living with art, making connections with emerging artists, and what makes him fall in love with an artwork. He tells stories about pieces in his collection along the way.
“I call myself an art lover, not a collector. It’s a lifestyle for me at this point. I’m not a religious person––I’m spiritual. For example, Saturdays, instead of going to synagogue, I go to galleries all day, no matter where I am. On Sunday, instead of going to church, I go to museums. On all my vacations from my job I go to art fairs, the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and I feel I’m looking for a buzz.”
Steve Shane began loving art at a young age growing up in Detroit, during a high school class in which he prepared a presentation on Salvador Dali. He subsequently studied art history at the University of Michigan and moved to New York City at the age of twenty, where he visited museums and began purchasing postcard and poster reproductions. Over the course of more than thirty years, he has collected nearly one thousand works of contemporary art. Shane visits galleries every Saturday in New York, where he continues to live, and for the past twenty years has attended most major international art fairs. He regularly guest lectures and conducts critiques with MFA students at colleges and universities.
Philanthropist, collector, and fifth generation business owner Todd Simon details the efforts of some of his foundations and the various means by which they offer support to the broader arts community, including fellowships and highly successful crowd funding. Simon also talks about his perspective as a collector, how he looks for new work, and whether work can stand the test of time.
"I spend my days running my business, Omaha Steaks, so I can't really make art, but I can facilitate the process by being involved with organizations that are very friendly to artists. And I think over the years what I've grown to love are artists, and really the sacrifices they've made and the choices they've made to become an artist. Nobody in their right minds would become an artist. That's not exactly true, but I think it's a very heroic choice. I think it's a great choice, one that I wasn't able to make, and I'd like to celebrate it."
After graduating from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Todd Simon joined the family business, Omaha Steaks, where he currently serves as Senior Vice President of Omaha Steaks International, Inc., President of OS SalesCo, Inc. and Vice-Chairman of Omahasteaks.com, Inc. As a philanthropist, Simon serves as Vice President of the Board for the Bemis Center of Contemporary Arts, and a as a board member for United States Artists, the United Way of the Midlands, The Omaha Community Foundation, and the Nebraska Chapter of Young President's Organization. Along with his wife, Simon runs their own organization, the Todd and Betiana Simon Foundation. The Simon's collect contemporary art and maintain a private gallery space in their home.
Collector and entrepreneur Howard Tullman talks about what he looks for when collecting work and maintaining a collection of over 1,400 pieces, as well as addressing the international art market and the future of art in Chicago.
“It’s great to be making art, but I do think that you need to figure out if there’s an audience for that, and if not, you either have to think about doing something different, or you have to decide that it’s not something you’re going to make a living at.”
Howard Tullman is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist based in Chicago who has collected realist figurative artwork for over forty years. He completed a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics (1967) and a J.D. (1970) from Northwestern University. He has launched and run numerous successful business, education, and technology endeavors. Currently, Tullman is the President and C.E.O. of the digital arts school Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy and is on the board of the New York Academy of Art, specializing if figurative work in traditional media.
Art Critics & Writers
Author and art critic Hunter Drohojowska-Philp discusses the Los Angeles art scene and the role of contemporary art criticism, and also outlines what she sees as the major factors of a successful art career.
“We all now live in a pluralistic art world and a globalized art world dominated by art fairs. Between the art fairs and the internet, everything is changing so quickly that we really don’t know what the future will be.”
Hunter Drohojowska-Philp is a journalist, art critic and the author of Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s and Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe. Her writings can also be found in such publications as Art News, Art in America, Artforum, Art Net, L.A. Weekly, L.A. Herald Examiner and The Los Angeles Times and she has contributed catalogue essays on the work of contemporary artists such as John Baldessari, Craig Kauffman and Alexis Smith. Drohojowska-Philp held an academic position as chair of the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Otis College of Art and Design from 1987 to 1996, and in March 2003, was honored by the International Association of Art Critics in being asked to deliver the “Clement Greenberg lecture” on Georgia O'Keeffe.
Chicago-based art critic Alicia Eler demystifies the career of a professional art writer and talks about the unique kinds of feedback that come with writing for the web. Eler also elaborates on the importance and difficulty of writing negative criticism, and how she, as a critic, sees art within a wider cultural context.
"I am not interested in art existing in a vacuum, or art only existing within the context of the art world. I am always thinking about art in a bigger cultural picture and framework… I want artists to be aware of the types of symbols they are using and the visual language they're working with."
Alicia Eler is a Chicago-based curator and art critic contributing regularly to Artforum.com and Hyperallergic, where she publishes an ongoing Selfie Series cataloging, questioning and theorizing the selfie cultural phenomenon. She is also the Curator for ACRE Projects, Visual Arts Researcher for the Chicago Artists’ Resource, and Writer/Editor for the OtherPeoplesPixels.com Blog. Additionally, her writing has appeared in Art Papers, RAW Vision Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Flavorpill, ReadWriteWeb and Time Out Chicago. Eler holds a BA in Art History from Oberlin College.
An editor and critic, Foumberg provides insight into the kind of artwork a critic will review and in which type of venue, and also outlines the different categories of art writing that have an impact on an artist’s career.
“I do like to support emerging artists and write about their shows, but I also like to write about the same artists over and over again, because I like to see how they transform and develop. I believe that the same critical attention is just as important perhaps, as an artist’s first review.”
Jason Foumberg is Art Editor and columnist at Chicago’s Newcity magazine, contributes to artists’ catalogs, and writes freelance criticism for Frieze. Foumberg also works at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Frank draws on his experience as a seasoned critic to articulate the responsibilities of a full-time art writer, and the importance of language in art and the changing climate of art criticism.
“I strive for eloquence because that eloquence serves best my understanding of the work and thus an understanding of the work for my readers…. And I want to do it in a relatively artful way, so that people want to read me, not simply for what I think but the way I think it.”
Frank is an Adjunct Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum and has served as Editor of THEmagazine Los Angeles and Visions Art Quarterly and as critic for Angeleno magazine and the L.A. Weekly. He contributes articles to numerous publications and catalogues. Frank has also organized various exhibitions including shows for the Riverside Art Museum; the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid; New York’s Alternative Museum; the Otis/Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles; the Atlanta College of Art; and the Guggenheim Museum. Frank has taught at Pratt Institute, Columbia University’s School of the Arts, the Tyler School of Art, the University of California Irvine, the University of California Los Angeles, Laguna College of Art and Design, Mt. San Antonio College, and other institutions.
Artist and writer Philip Hartigan delves into his practice and the world of arts writing, sharing effective ways of soliciting writers, gaining coverage for your exhibitions, and anticipating interview questions.
“Writing as an artist is really important. We think of ourselves as purely visual people but really we still have to write. We still have to use words, whether that’s just writing a decent CV or resume, an application, a proposal, a letter, or an artist’s statement. You know, artists still are required to use words to talk about themselves. I think I just happen to have taken that several phases further.”
Philip Hartigan is Chicago-based artist, an arts writer for Time-Out Chicago and Hyperallergic, and a part time faculty member at Columbia College Chicago. Hartigan was born in northern England and grew up at an army base in Germany. He graduated from Cambridge University’s Clare College with a degree in English literature. He worked as a writer during his early 20s, before enrolling at Winchester School of Art for a master’s degree in visual art. After graduating, Hartigan lived in a number of countries in Western Europe before relocating to Chicago in 2002. Hartigan started writing a blog in 2009, Praeterita, which features a number of artist interviews and led to regular arts writing positions at both Time-Out Chicago and the popular arts blog Hyperallergic. At Columbia College Chicago Hartigan teaches classes in drawing and writing, and he also works as a freelance editorial and commercial writer. Hartigan’s work has been shown in a number of exhibitions, including at Mark Jason Fine Art, London; the Stockholm Independent Art Fair, Stockholm; the 7th Print Bienniel, Douro, Portugal; the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago; BRIDGE Art Fair, Miami; and Finestra Art Space, Chicago.
Brilliant, idiosyncratic, and divisive art critic and cultural commentator Dave Hickey assesses the art world’s shifts over the past 50 years, from corporatization to prettification, and lays out the difficulties faced by artists today.
“My feeling about the broader art market is, if it’s that easy that millions of people can understand it, I don’t want to do it. Do you understand? I do difficulty. I’m a snob, I’m an elitist. And that’s okay. I see the social consequences of art very clearly. I do not see the social practices—praxis—doing anything beyond just getting a lot of people in a room to drink bad wine out of plastic cups.”
David Hickey is a renowned writer and critic of arts and culture. Born in Forth Worth, Texas, he earned a B.F.A. from Texas Christian University (1961) and an M.A. from the University of Texas, Austin (1963). After being asked to write a catalogue essay by a friend he discovered a longstanding interest in writing art criticism and theory. He founded and directed the gallery A Clean Well-Lighted Place in Austin, later moving to New York to act as director of Reese Palley Gallery. After leaving the gallery world he worked as a private dealer in New York before taking a position as Executive Editor of Art in America. Hickey has written for numerous publications over the course of his career, including Rolling Stone, Art News, Artforum, Harper’s Magazine, and Vanity Fair, and he has acted as contributing editor for The Village Voice and arts editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His essays have been collected in The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty (1993), Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (1997), and Pirates and Farmers: Essays on Taste (2013). He is currently working on another collection, Twenty-Five Women: Essays on Art. In 1999 he published a collection of short stories, Stardumb. Hickey has also worked as a Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and as Distinguished Professor of Criticism for the MFA Program in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of New Mexico. His awards include the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art for Architectural Criticism from the College Art Association (1993); the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2002); and the Peabody Award for Public Journalism (2006). Hickey is married to art historian, writer, and critic Libby Lumpkin.
Veteran art writer Ann Landi tells her story and talks art history with Paul while fielding participant questions about authenticity, what’s changed for women since the 90s, and why her website is unrivaled for arts coverage and content.
“I have artist friends who complain all the time about sexism. It’s changing, it’s like politics: it’s slow, it’s very slow. And it’s probably not where we want it to be yet, but it is getting there.”
Ann Landi is an arts writer, curator, and the founder/editor of the website Vasari21. Born and raised in the suburbs of New York and then in the city itself, Landi drew, painted, and wrote throughout high school. She matriculated at Princeton University as part of the institution’s first co-ed class, beginning in the Studio Art department but eventually switching to Art History. Landi graduated in 1978 and spent a year working for a book publisher before pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Art History from Columbia University. After graduating, Landi concentrated on copy editing and commercial writing, which led to work for periodicals including GQ Magazine, Travel & Leisure, and the now-defunct Manhattan, Inc. Landi briefly lived in San Francisco with her now ex-husband before moving back to New York City. She began writing about culture for the New York Time, the Wall Street Journal, and Art News, where she worked as contributing editor for seventeen years. In 2013 she founded her own site, Vasari21, a subscription-based platform with essays, interviews, and a range of practical information for working artists.
Freelance writer Ruth Lopez explains why every artist and arts organization needs a good written narrative, and how an invitation to tea might be the best way to build a relationship.
“Those of us who have chosen to cover the arts are doing it because we care. We are interested, we want to know…. That ability to be receptive and open might fluctuate given the demands of that person’s work schedule that week. But it doesn’t mean they don’t want to see what you’re doing or know about it.”
Ruth Lopez is a Chicago-based arts journalist and grant writer. Lopez was born in Long Island, New York, but at age twelve she moved with her family to Michigan. After graduating high school she worked in a newspaper library; intending to be a poet, she realized she might be able to make a living as a journalist instead. Lopez studied Humanities at Wayne State University and photography and writing at Columbia College Chicago before earning a Bachelor’s in Humanities/Art History from Goddard College. She holds a certificate in Grantwriting from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, and in 1998-1999 she served as a Pew fellow in the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University. As a critic, Lopez initially focused on books, working as Book Review Editor at The Santa Fe New Mexican for seven years. From 2005-2008 she was the Art & Design Editor for Time Out Chicago. As a contributing writer, Lopez has worked for such publications as ARTnews, Chicago magazine, Chicago Tribune, Fiber Arts, Interior Design, The Art Newspaper, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. She has served as an advisor to the Literary Program of the Lannan Foundation, a Board Member of The International Contemporary Ensemble, and a Board Member of The Neighborhood Writing Alliance. Lopez also operates a culture blog, Dear Miss Valland: Writing to Rose.
Kyle MacMillan discusses the changing world of arts criticism and journalism from employing full-time staffers to relying on freelancers. He addresses what this means for writers and artists alike and considers ethical issues that arise when writing about art.
“If you look at the Chicago art scene, what’s missing here is not so much criticism, because we have that in various publications. There’s national publications that cover the Chicago art scene. So if you just want people to go out and cover art shows and write a review of one kind or another, we’ve got that... What you don’t have in Chicago is what a critic brings to the table, which are ongoing, critical assessments of the scene at large... the whole ecosystem of the art scene. What’s missing? What’s happening? What’s working? What’s not working? Those are all things that art critics do on an ongoing basis.”
Kyle MacMillan has been an art critic and journalist in the Midwest for over twenty-five years. Currently, he freelances for such publications as the Chicago Sun-Times. Prior to moving to Chicago in early 2012, he had been a staff writer for The Denver Post and, previously, the Omaha World-Herald. He has also written catalog essays for such artists as Nick Cave. MacMillan studied art history as an undergraduate and completed a graduate degree in journalism at Columbia University in New York City.
Arts writer Paddy Johnson spells out her goal of delivering honest and intelligent art coverage, particularly for emerging artists, and her fight to keep New York affordable for working artists and writers.
“I have thirteen years in New York and I have nine running a blog. I definitely have a stake in the art world, and I feel like it’s really important, if you believe in something… to stake those claims out. Because you want to live and work in the art world you’d like to see.”
Paddy Johnson is a New York-based arts writer, curator, and activist, and the Founding Editor and Executive Director of the nonprofit blog Art F City. Johnson was born in Guelph, Ontario. She studied at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Jersey, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1998. Johnson also attended graduate school at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2001. She subsequently moved to New York and took a number of short-lived gallery positions before teaching herself HTML and founding Art Fag City (now Art F City) in September of 2005. The blog responds to exhibitions at all levels of the art world, with an emphasis on those of emerging and under-recognized artists. Art F City also engages with political activism, most recently working with Skowhegan and the Artist Studio Affordability Project (A.S.A.P.) to organize a panel discussion on affordable studio space in New York. The blog received the Village Voice Web Award for Best Art Blog in both 2011 and 2012.
Johnson’s writing has appeared in a number of publications besides Art F City, including artnet, ArtReview, Art in America, The Daily Beast, The Economist, Flavorpill, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Print Magazine, The Reeler, and Time Out New York. She has also worked as Assistant Editor at Tristan Media and Art Editor at The L Magazine. In 2007 Johnson became the first art critic in residence for iCommons, and in 2008 she was awarded a Creative Capital Arts Writers grant from the Creative Capital Foundation, the first ever such award to a blogger. In 2010 she was nominated as best art critic at The Rob Pruitt Art Awards. Johnson’s curated projects include Playlist, Graphics Interchange Format, and The Sound of Art. She is also an active speaker, and has lectured on art and the Internet at such venues as Yale University, Parson, Rutgers, South by Southwest, and the Whitney Independent Study Program.
Chicago-based critic Abraham Ritchie talks about the role of art criticism in today’s art world, and what that means in relation to the contemporary concerns of art speak, beauty and graffiti.
“We read critics because they write about artists that they’re interested in, and they make a case for why that work is interesting and important in a larger context. I think the idea of being objective is a complete myth.”
Abraham Ritchie is a Chicago-based curator and critic who has written for such publications as National Endowment for the Arts, the United Kingdom's Spectator, Madison Newspapers, Inc., the Chicago Tribune and Chicago’s NewCity. He’s also been featured on Chicago Tonight, Art21 and the Bad at Sports podcast. Ritchie was the administrator of The Chicago Art Blog, and the Chicago City Editor for ArtSlant, Inc. He holds a Master of Arts in New Art Journalism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Superstar critic Jerry Saltz speaks frankly about the realities of the art market, and gives his advice on how to make successful work and where to go to do it.
“I think that obsession is probably one of the keys to any great artist… but it needs to have more than obsession; it needs to have some sort of insight….I am interested in an artist who creates a machine in their art, and that they can’t predict where this machine is going to spin out.”
Art critic for the New York Times and New York Magazine, Jerry Saltz gives a powerful and informed review of what makes an artist relevant in today’s art market. A judge on one of Bravo TV’s newest television shows, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, Saltz has easily become one of the most universally recognizable figures in contemporary art criticism.
Kansas City-based, visual arts writer Blair Schulman talks with Klein Artist Works about the city’s thriving DIY scene, and also discusses his role as an art critic, including how a writer can be integrally involved in his or her art community, maintaining a balanced point of view, and how and why a negative review can be necessary.
"I want to create a critical conversation about someone's work…and I would like to think that sometimes my writing helps with encouraging further exposure."
Blair Schulman is an art critic and writer based in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the Editor of Cupcakes in Regalia, a publication devoted to criticism and reviews of Kansas City visual arts, and the Associate Editor of the Art Tattler, an outlet with an international scope. Schulman also contributes profusely to other publications both in the Kansas City area and throughout the country including Review Magazine, The Kansas City Star, Juxtapose, and Whitehot Magazine amongst many others.
Arts writer and painter John Seed discusses how artists can use blogs to empower themselves, and gives tips on how to commission and work productively with writers.
“I’m interested in shifting things. That’s something you can do as a blogger, you can be a little bit subversive…. I try to not write about not the usual suspects. I guess I have a little bit of feeling for the underdog.”
John Seed is a California-based arts writer, painter, curator, and professor. Seed is a 7th generation Californian who grew up in Westside, Los Angeles. He began making art while attending Stanford University, where he earned a BA in Studio Art in 1979. After several years, during which he worked as a night manager at an ampm convenience store, Seed matriculated at UC Berkeley, where he earned an MA in Fine and Studio Art in 1982. Seed subsequently worked for Larry Gagosian, as a studio assistant for Jean-Michel Basquiat, and at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA). Seed began teaching at the Art Center College of Design in 1985, a position he held until 2001. In 1986 he began teaching at Mt. San Jacinto College, where he currently serves as Department Chair in Art. Seed initially began writing about art for his local newspaper, which led to a position writing for The Huffington Post. Since then Seed has written for such sources as Harvard Magazine, Hyperallergic, Art Ltd. Magazine, and Christie’s Hong Kong. He has published several books, including Arman Manookian: An Armenian Artist in Hawai’i (2011), Nine Artists… (2011), and Ten Rather Eccentric Essays on Art: Refelctions on Damien Hirst, postmodernism, the art market, food in art and more… (2014). Seed was a Finalist for the 2012 Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and he is a frequent speaker and panelist. He currently lives in Southern California with his three daughters and two dogs.
As an Art in America critic, Snodgrass outlines the process, function and audience of the review, and talks about her relationship with artists and how that impacts her choices as a critic.
“It’s a real art form just trying to describe what you see in exhibition, especially something that is large scale. You have to select key words that are emblematic because you can't necessarily survey everything that's happening in the work. The key is getting a good image of the exhibition and the interpretive process.”
An Art Critic for Art in America for 20 years, Snodgrass received a BA from Indiana University in Bloomington and has written for publications such as Art and Auction; Art Papers; C Magazine; Dialogue; New Art Examiner; Sculpture; World Art; The Object of Labor: Art, Cloth and Cultural Production, and WhiteWalls: A Journal of Language and Art.
New York-based arts writer and journalist Judd Tully has been steeped in the international art market since the mid-1970s. He discusses the trajectory of his career and elucidates the international art market, auctions, art fairs, and different levels of artists’ careers.
“The art world is a bizarre place. There’s a lot of business, but the business, unlike other industries––and certainly the art market is an industry––it’s really mom and pop, these small operations. But when you’re talking about a gallery that has turnover of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, that’s not mom and pop. Still, I think the whole thing’s pretty much generated by handshakes or the gentleman’s agreement, without contracts, involving lots of money.”
Judd Tully is an arts writer and editor at large for Art + Auction and ARTINFO. He has covered auctions, art fairs, and exhibitions for nearly forty years. He got his start writing for underground papers in Berkely, CA, before moving to Manhattan and writing about art for the SoHo Weekly News, an early competitor of the Village Voice. Tully was subsequently a freelance writer for the Washington Post, Flash Art, The New Art Examiner, and numerous other publications.
Articulate critic/curator Christian Viveros-Fauné has a reputation as a straight-shooter. Here he shows why, laying out his own approach to criticism and evaluating the contemporary art market.
“The middle class in the art world is where the experimentation starts. It’s a great breeding ground for ideas. It’s the actually fundamental part of the larger art ecology and we’re living through a period where, just like in the larger economy, it’s basically being sunk. I find that a problem.”
Christian Viveros-Fauné is an art critic, a freelance curator working primarily with art fairs, biennials, and institutions, and a former gallery director. Viveros-Fauné was born in Santiago, Chile, and raised both there and in the United States. As a university student he majored in English and political science; he first “encountered visual art” while living in Barcelona, Spain during the 1980s. He also began writing art criticism in Spain, first by doing a favor for a busy correspondent friend. Viveros-Fauné moved to Brooklyn in the early 1990s and, with partner Joel Beck, opened the gallery Roebling Hall in 1997. At the time he continued working as a critic, in particular for the New York Press. Roebling Hall became known as a cutting-edge venue and, in 2004, opened an additional ground floor space in Chelsea. Four years later, however, the gallery closed, as Viveros-Fauné realized that he would rather be a full-time arts writer and curator than a gallery owner or dealer. He began writing for the Village Voice, a position that he has held since with the exception of a hiatus when he served as the managing director of the art fairs VOLTA NY in New York and NEXT Art Fair in Chicago.
As a critic, Viveros-Fauné has written for a large number of publications, including Art in America, artnet, Artnews, Art Papers, ArtReview, The Art Newspaper, El Mercurio, Frieze, Lapiz, La Tercera, New York Press, La Vanguardia, Life & Style, Quien, The New Yorker, The Paris Review Daily, and the Village Voice. In 2010 he received Creative Capital’s Arts Writers Grant and in 2010-2011 he served as the inaugural Critic-in-Residence at the Bronx Museum of Art and as a Visiting Lecturer at the Yale School of Art. As a curator, Viveros-Fauné has worked on such projects as Ricos y Famosos: Young Chilean Art in a New Millenium (Museo de la Solidaridad, Santiago, Chile); BQE (White Box Gallery, NY); Armando Morales (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Mexico); L Factor (Exit Art, NY); Yishai Jusidman: Paintworks (Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City and Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico), Plain Air: Extraordinary Landscapes (2nd Canary Island Biennial, Tenerife, Spain), Spasticus Artisticus (Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool, UK); Dirty Kunst (seventeen gallery, London, UK); and, with Jota Castro, Dublin Contemporary 2011 (Dublin, Ireland).
Artist and Author of a book on Public Art Commissions discusses her detailed methodology for winning and executing commissions, and how she makes a living making art.
“One thing I've learned is that we're our own worst enemies because we work for free too much and we give ourselves away. You have to stop doing that because it lowers the bar for all the rest of us. It's a strange economy we live in as artists.”
Lynn Basa, a professor of Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, received for Master of Public Administration from University of Washington, Seattle. Her past commissions include Indianapolis International Airport; Seattle City Light Collection; AbsolutVodka; Walt Disney Company; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; and Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Basa is the author of The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions.
As Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Michelle Boone offers insight into how and why the city selects its visual arts exhibitions, and also discusses the future goals for sustaining and supporting the city’s artists.
“We recognize that the magnificent art schools here in the city are turning out thousands of creative degrees, but we don’t have the infrastructure in place to be that supportive to those people. We have to do a better job of making sure that artists are able to earn a living wage and that they can have affordable housing.”
Michelle T. Boone is the Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Prior to her appointment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011, Boone was the Senior Program Officer for Culture at the Joyce Foundation in Chicago, managing the Joyce Awards program: a competitive grant opportunity available to arts and culture groups in the Midwest to commission new works by artists of color. Boone serves on the boards of Grantmakers in the Arts and Americans for the Arts, the Arts Alliance Illinois, Third Coast International Audio Festival, South Chicago Arts Center, and NeighborSpace. Boone was also the director of Gallery 37, an award-winning job-training in the arts program for Chicago youth through the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Prolific, civically involved sculptor Bob Emser shares his experience in the public commission market, discussing his intuitive growth as a business-minded artist, and how to approach a professional career like a work of art.
“I get invited routinely by rotaries and other groups to talk about something that I call ‘sculptural economics’; it's basically facts about how putting a sculpture in your community will make it livelier and economically stronger.”
Bob Emser received an MFA (1978) from Bradley University. During his 25 year career Emser has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He has served as a visiting artist and has taught and at several universities and held a tenure professorship for 14 years. He was the founder the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria and in 2004 he co-founded the Chicago Sculpture International and currently serves as the president. Emser serves on the board of directors of the International Sculpture Center and the prestigious Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.
He received the prestigious Pollack Krasner Grant in 2010.
Founder of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Ree Kaneko discusses the history and importance of artist residency programs, and gives her first-hand account of what residency jurors are looking for in an artist’s application.
“After you’ve been in the arts long enough and look at enough work, you can recognize when someone has mastered a skill with their material. Then, after a while, you start looking for the talent and creativity --what it is that you want to support.”
Ree Kaneko founded the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in 1981, serving as Executive Director until early 2001. From 1980-84, Kaneko was the Founder and Director of Alternative Worksite, an Artist-in-Industry Program. She received a BFA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she was honored with a Distinguished Alumna Award in 1991. Kaneko is also a founding board member of the Alliance of Artists Communities.
Machin explains the inner-workings of an art fabrication and installation company, expounding on how his business works with artists, curators and companies to solve the problems associated with large or unusual art installations.
“Our principal role is to take the artist in one hand or the curator in one hand and the trucker or the crane operator in the other, and we've got to go through this installation process together.”
Machin is the Director of Field Operations at Methods & Materials, Inc., which has been installing the permanent collections of galleries, museums, municipalities, corporations and private collectors since 1990.
Artist duo Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse talk about the nature of their collaborative practice, as well as the tactics that have served them best in securing large scale commissions at institutions around the country.
“Carol and I believe the studio is not always a place for making finished art; it’s a place for starting things and maybe getting in trouble. What goes on in the studio is far livelier in a way than having to meet people’s expectations.”
Artists Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse maintained a collaborative practice for over ten years, creating large-scale sculptures, paintings and prints for both commissions and exhibitions. Both hold PhDs (Mickett in philosophy and Stackhouse with an honorary doctorate), and have given numerous lectures on public art and their collaborations. Mickett and Stackhouse’s work has been featured in such institutions as International Sculpture Center, New York; Contemporary Art Museum, University of South Florida, Tampa; and the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN.
Arts administrator Encarnación Teruel reveals an insider’s view to the criteria and application process for grants, discussing state funding for artists and not-for-profit arts organizations and the importance of grant funding as part of an overall strategy to sustain yourself as an artist.
“Really successful artists get foundation support, they get government support, they may have a job at Columbia or the School of the Art Institute, because the package they get from their job helps sustain them. Because we know, as artists...it’s really hard to sustain yourself just on the sale of your artwork.”
Encarnación Teruel has been the Director of Visual Arts, Media Arts, and Multi-Disciplinary Arts Programs for the Illinois Arts Council since 2004. Previously, he worked as the performing arts director for the Field Museum and the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (now the National Museum of Mexican Art). He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he will be a guest curator for the M.F.A. exhibition in 2013.
In this conversation, Austin discusses her consulting work with corporate clients and top artists, commissioning art all over the world; she also addresses transparency in her business and gives helpful advise on legal, copyright and insurance issues.
“One of the things that I have to do, and it would be helpful for the artist and dealer to do as well, is to manage a clients expectations. That means when you do a proposal, your renderings and your budget, and the clients love it, that they expect you to do exactly that.”
Lisa Austin & Associates is a private art consulting firm with 30 years of experience specializing in advisory services for institutional and private clients. Their experience includes a diverse array of projects related to the visual arts, including curatorial and art management services for private collectors, as well as long-term planning programs, large scale site-specific commissions, and specially tailored art acquisition programs.
With over 25 years of experience in the art business, Art Advisor Susan Blackman talks about how she connects with her clients from around the globe, and outlines the most effective way for artists to research and approach art consultants.
“Art consultants never know what’s going to cross our paths, so we want to have as much information and as many artists as we can in our back pockets when we go talk to clients.”
Susan Blackman is the founder and owner of Art Advisory, Ltd., a Chicago-based firm that specializes in placing art into corporate settings, the hospitality and health care industries, and private residences around the world. Before starting Art Advisory, Ltd. in 2002, Blackman was the owner of an art gallery and managed several others. Blackman received her MBA from The Ohio State University, Max M. Fisher College of Business.
Victoria Burns talks with Klein Artist Work’s participants about life as an art advisor, sharing her process of matching diverse international artwork with contemporary collectors.
“I’m not always looking for what the client’s looking for, I’m collecting my people. So it’s my dealers, my artists, and the people I love. Because what happens is, if I love your work I get excited about it…. Your connection with me is not client-based. It’s about your work’s connection with me.”
Victoria Burns is a Los Angeles-based art advisor for private and corporate clients who works with modern and contemporary art, and who specializes in photography. Burns was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and she attended Northwestern University in Chicago. At age 19 she received an internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and as a junior at Northwestern she began working at Dart Gallery. After graduating in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, Burns worked at the gallery and then cataloged the collection of major collector Irving Stenn Junior. Burns spent six years working as an Account Executive of Corporate Sales for Tiffany & Co. while curating a number of independent projects. In 1992 she moved with her husband to Berlin, where she took a position as curator and consultant with Raab Galerie, most notably creating a major exhibition on contemporary American photography. After returning to Chicago, Burns worked as Director of Rhona Hoffman Gallery (1994-1995) before organizing her own art advising business, Espy Burns Fine Art. Between 1993 and 2006 the business worked with such clients as The MacArthur Foundation, Motorola, and the Children’s Memorial Hospital. Burns spent a gap year developing the cultural conference Symposium C6 in Chicago, and in 2008 she founded Victoria Burns Art Advisory, her current business. Burns has worked with a number of private clients and organizations such as The Chicago Conservation Center, Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and Hines Development Company. During this period Burns also worked as Director of National Marketing and Sales for The Chicago Conservation Center, and she moved to Los Angeles. Besides running her own business she is also a lecturer at Art Muse Los Angeles and a partner as LA Social Venture Partners, a philanthropic group devoted to helping strengthen nonprofit organizations.
Deborah G. Davis explains the role of the art advisor within the contemporary art market, and describes what it was like to reenter the field after taking a near decade-long hiatus to raise a family.
“Take chances, believe in yourself. It was hard for me to make the transition from just doing my job to creating my job…. You have to promote yourself. And there’s this whole worry: ‘Am I good enough? Do I know my stuff? Is my art good enough?’ Don’t think about it so much. Just do it.”
Deborah Goodman Davis is a New York-based art advisor. Born and raised in Montreal, Davis learned her enthusiasm for the arts from her mother, an art historian and collector. She began studying art history herself while in high school and continued as a student at Cornell University, graduating with a BA in 1985. After several internships, including one with the print department of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Davis studied at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Davis subsequently moved to Chicago, where she earned an MA in Art History from the University of Chicago and took another internship, this time with the print department of the Art Institute of Chicago (1987). She has also studied at Yale University, and after graduating from the University of Chicago she worked for several years at the Yale University Art Gallery. In New York she began working with then-art advisor Jeffrey Deitch, helping to mount the internationally traveling exhibition “Post Human.” Davis then put her career on hold for approximately nine years while raising her children. She returned to the art world in the early 2000s with Deborah G. Davis Fine Art, her own art advisory business. Davis currently lives in New Jersey and primarily operates in New York City area.
Art consultant Jean Efron opens up the world of working with corporations and law firms to curate and acquire their private art collections. She addresses the many considerations that go into the process of putting a private collection together, including what part branding plays in acquisition decisions and how she finds and works with artists.
“They’re advancing a brand... but at the same time, the artworks are inventive, they’re wonderful, they’re interesting. And what this client thinks is you judge a book by the cover. So people make a judgment about an individual, about a corporation, on the basis of what’s hanging on their wall. Is it interesting? Is it good? Is the quality high? What does it say about this company? So I think the biggest responsibility I have is to make sure this company is well represented, that it has the best art that it can.”
Jean Efron is the Principal of Jean Efron Art Consultants LLC, which she established in 1973 as an art advisory firm based in Washington, DC. Her firm curates collections and acquires artwork for private clientele, including corporations, law firms, and developers, as well as works with municipalities and architects on commissions and public art. Prior to establishing the firm, Efron was the Fine Arts Officer of the US General Services Administration, where she catalogued large-scale artworks commissioned by the federal government during the 1930s to 1940s. She completed a B.A. in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and an M.A. in the History of Art and Architecture from George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Gilford details the lucrative market available to artists through the route of art consultants, discussing how she finds and places artwork with both private and corporate clients and collectors.
“The dialogue, the intervals, the way that you approach the art, the site lines and the lighting are all very important to me. I want the art to be featured and I want that work to be maximized in terms of its placement. It also has to work with me in terms of integrity in the making, the uniqueness.”
Patti Gilford, founder of Patti Gilford Fine Art, has over 30 years of experience in the art consulting arena. Featured in various publications and touted as one of Chicago’s best art consultants, Gilford has helped individuals and organizations around the world hand select pieces for collections. Patti Gilford Fine Arts is WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) certified by the City of Chicago.
As President of Architectural Arts Company, Leeber explains how artists can best present themselves professionally, and also outlines how to break into the profitable fields of public art and art sales in the architectural and design industries.
“You should get your art anywhere you can, out for people to see it, until you’ve gotten so well represented that you can then withdraw from some of those places.”
Sharon Leeber is the president of Architectural Arts Company, a Dallas based company that has created comprehensive fine arts collections and fine arts sponsorship strategies for corporate and private clients throughout the US, Europe, Asia, Southern Africa, and South America for over 30 years. Also a Public Arts Counselor, Leeber works with city and state governments to write and execute Plans for Public Art Master Plans.
Longtime art advisor Suzy Locke shares knowledge gleaned from nearly forty years in the consulting business, discussing commissions, conflicts of interest, and the difference between working with private and corporate clients. She also takes questions from artists on how to best seek out and approach art advisors.
“I expect [artists] to have a dialogue with the client. They can sell their work very easily if they can talk about their work. I love to see my clients light up having the opportunity to interact with an intelligent artist. It's very exciting, and sometimes I've taken them to an artist's studio when they've had a certain budget, but once they've seen the work and talked to the artist they decide they want to go the extra mile because they're so excited."
Suzy Locke is a fine art advisor and appraiser, and the principal at Suzy R. Locke & Associates, an Oakland-based art advisory firm that operates nationally. She is also a Board member for the Association of Professional Art Advisors (APAA), the only professional network for corporate art advisors in the United States and Canada. In a career spanning nearly four decades, Locke has worked with a number of major companies including Bank of America, Blue Cross, Chevron USA, Dreyery’s and Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, Holiday Inns of America, and Wells Fargo. She has worked with a number of clinics and hospitals as well, including many within the Kaiser Permanente consortium, and with institutions such as the University of California, Berkley. Locke also represents many private clients, lectures regularly, and belongs to a great number of professional organizations.
Art Consultant Mary McElwain discusses the maturing of the art advisory industry, answering questions as to why corporate collections are ideal environments for art, what happens if these collections deaccession, and how art consultants work to secure commissions for artists.
“Connecting artists with corporations for commissioned work is a special skill set --it takes an understanding what the artists is capable of. Both the client and the artist have to trust that I will bring the project to fruition by working with the artist.”
Mary McElwain has been working as an art consultant since the mid-80s, and started her own firm, McElwain Fine Arts in 1994. With her St. Louis-based firm, McElwain works with corporations, law firms, designers and architects, creating collections and managing the acquisitions of work by historic and contemporary artists. McElwain served as the Board Chair if the Missouri Arts Council for five years, and is a member of the International Association of Professional Art Advisors, where she has also served on the board. McElwain received a BA in Studio Art from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.
Art business veteran Madeline Murphy Rabb shares tough-minded advice on how artists can help themselves.
“You don’t need to talk to artists, you need to be at openings, you need to follow people around. You’ve just got to figure out, ‘Who is my potential client and where do they hang out.’”
Madeline Murphy Rabb is the president of her own art advisory firm, Murphy Rabb, Inc (MRI). Born in 1945 in Wilmington, Delaware and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Rabb began studying art in high school. She was encouraged by her father to study business and public administration at the University of Maryland, but after two years she left to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Rabb concentrated on painting and drawing, graduating with a BFA in 1966. She subsequently moved to Chicago, where she earned an MS in print making from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She worked as Assistant Director of Art and Production for Tuesday Publications, then took a hiatus during which she concentrated on her family and local politics. In 1977 she rejoined the private sector, taking a position as Vice President and Business Manager of Myra Everett Designs. The next year she became an account executive at Corporate Concierge, and in 1979 she opened Madeline Murphy Rabb Studio, a defined business for her own art practice. The City of Chicago tapped Rabb to serve as Executive Director of Fine Arts in 1983. After seven years in the position, Rabb left the city to work as a freelance art consultant. In 1992 she opened her current consulting business. She has worked with numerous public and corporate organizations, as well as private individuals. She is a longstanding expert on contemporary African American artists.
Art Consultant Joel Straus discusses his area of expertise: placing large scale, site specific artwork, and also gives insider's advice on securing public art commissions, streamlining the making process to maximize profits, and why going the public art route can very often be more lucrative than getting a gallery.
"The reality is there are many, many more opportunities to work in public places than there are opportunities to actually get a gallery to sell your work."
Joel Straus began his career at one of Chicago's most respected galleries, Richard Gray Gallery, starting as a preparator, working his way up to Assistant Director. Since 1994, Straus has been operating Joel Straus Consulting, specializing in advising acquisitions for corporations, hotels, foundations, municipalities, and private collectors. Past projects include placing work at McCormick Place Convention Complex, Washington D.C. Convention Center, Dow Centennial Sculpture Garden, and Palm Beach Garden City Hall amongst many others. Straus received his BA from Wake Forest University.
An expert accountant for artists, Ecklebarger answers questions on tax issues for artists with multiple revenue streams including discussions on sales tax, write-offs, expenses, social security and the IRS.
“As artists, we wear many hats. We all have to do many things to make a living and these many hats come into play at the end of the year for your tax return. And once a person becomes an artist, they often don't know how to file taxes as an artist. What do you do?”
Janet Eckelbarger is a finance and art guru hybrid. As a financial consultant and tax preparer, Eckelbarger tackles the topics that terrify artists: the IRS and how federal and local government views artist businesses.
Veteran Business and Intellectual Property Lawyer Joanne Hurley advises on the copyright, legal and business issues that all artists should be aware of, and outlines the best way to negotiate contracts.
“Artists spend an enormous amount of time and passion creating artwork, and you have to respect yourselves by treating what you do as a business as well as a creative talent.”
Joanne Hurley is a business, intellectual property, real estate and entertainment attorney who has worked on many high-profile transactions including the North American due diligence project for Getty Images. Hurley also represents world-class visual artist, Nick Cave, the Estate of Coleridge Taylor Perkinson for entertainment issues, and handles other legal projects for companies in the fields of design and product development, fashion industry, entertainment and publishing, among many others.
A specialist in working with artists and their taxes, Kamenski outlines the pros and cons of becoming “incorporated” or an LLC, and also reveals his Golden Rule for deciphering write-offs.
“If any of you have had an experience showing your income and expenses on your taxes you might have discovered that losing money in your art making is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to taxes.”
Kamenski is the President of Rockstar CPA, which has quickly emerged as the nation’s premier entertainment industry CPA firm and has developed a mobile app for artists to track their expenses.
Attorney William Rattner focuses on what every visual artist should know: protecting their rights. Focusing on the Consignment Act and the importance of maintaining written contracts between dealers, buyers and even within collaborative artist groups. This webinar also provides an insight into copyright laws and how artists can protect themselves.
"Artists don't like to think of themselves as being in business, but everyone you deal with is in business. If you are businesslike from the beginning, you can avoid a lot of problems."
William Rattner is an attorney and Executive Director for the Lawyers for the Creative Arts. The LCA enlists more than 1800 lawyers to provide pro bono assistance to thousands of its clients. Mr. Rattner graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School, and has practiced law in Chicago for over 37 years. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at numerous institutions, and serves on the board of many prominent arts and culture organizations. More information can be found on the LCA website.
Art Lawyer Coco Soodek discusses the intricacies of copyrights as they pertain to artists, and also gives a line-by-line explanation of the contract that all artists must contend with: the Consignment Agreement.
“Litigation is absolutely a last resort. You should only use it when you’ve really gotten screwed and you can’t stop getting screwed. Short of that, the contract creates a record of what you talked about and agreed to, and the integrity of the people you’re doing business with ought to be enough to enforce that contract.”
Coco Soodek is a lawyer, writer and blogger who specializes in all areas of art law, from trademark and internet law, to consignment agreements, publishing agreements, copyrights and estate planning. She works at Profit and Laws Press, Inc. & Bryan Cave LLP, and has earned degrees from Northwestern University School of Law and Hofstra University School of Law.
Karen Atkinson, one of the original proponents of professional development for artists and the author of Getting Your Sh*t Together, doles out practical advice on everything from building a career that complements your practice to creating a artist's advisory board.
“I think a lot of artists decide there’s only one way to be an artist, and they get frustrated because they don’t ‘make it.’ I think there’s a lots of different ways to make it, and that’s one of the things that I’m particularly interested in: artists really thinking outside that linear trajectory… thinking about the ways that the work they make is fulfilling to themselves and that they can actually create a life that’s really interesting. Because you can try to go by somebody else’s rules the whole time and be absolutely miserable.”
Karen Atkinson is an academic specializing in professional development for artists, a writer, an independent curator, an arts organizer, and an artist herself. Atkinson was born in San Diego, California. She graduated with an Associate in Arts degree from Reedley College (1978) and a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fresno (1981) before earning a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts, 1984). She taught at California State University, Fresno, Pacific College, and Reedley College before becoming a faculty member at CalArts (1988), where she has taught ever since. At CalArts, Atkinson teaches studio art and a class on how artists can professionalize their practices and advance their careers while still earning a living. Atkinson also teaches the subject as a workshop in Los Angeles, and she has released a book covering this material entitled Getting Your Sh*t Together: The Ultimate Business Manual For Every Practicing Artist.
Some of Atkinson’s numerous other activities include co-founding the artist-run nonprofit Side Street Projects (1991); founding GYST Ink, an artist-run software company for visual artists (2008); delivering a talk for TEDxFullerton, “Making of a Hybrid (Artist)” (2010); and serving as president of the National Association of Artists’ Organizations. She has both exhibited and curated across the country and internationally, including at the Fifth Havana Biennial, Cuba; Biennale de Paris, New York City; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Project Row Houses, Houston; Museum of Arts and Crafts, Itami, Japan; Galeria Kurt im Hirsch, Berlin, Germany; 2B Galeria, Budapest, Hungary; and Artspace, Sydney, Australia.
Bamberger is a San Francisco-based art business advisor, appraiser and writer. He has been advising artists and collectors in the Bay Area for thirty years. From his beginnings as an antique and art book dealer, Bamberger works now writing and consulting with artists. In this talk, he covers a range of topics including the launch of his career as an art dealer and the ways in which artists can boost their presence independently of a gallery.
"The more people that see [your work] the greater the chances that something's going to happen. You can't just sit around and wait for some ideal circumstance."
As a writer and appraiser, Bamberger has written numerous articles for American Artist, Art Ltd., Antiques and Fine Art, Antique Trader and the San Francisco Review of Books. His "Art Talk" column was syndicated and published in many collectible publications including: Antique Week, Mid-Atlantic Antiques Magazine, Antiques and Collectables, Antique Gazette and Collectors Journal.
With expert advice on using available technologies, Born explains the necessity for artists to maintain a personal brand using social media to create an online presence for your art.
“Facebook has been the biggest exercise in personal branding in the history of the world. When you do a brand messaging you think about three words that describe you and then you make sure everything is consistent with those ideas.”
Kathryn Born is the Founder and Publisher of the Chicago Art Machine Network of arts and cultures blogs, and has previously contributed to Bad at Sports, Chicago Now and many other platforms. She currently earns a living in New Media, consulting companies about how to use the internet, what technologies and software are being adopted, and how to maximize your dollars in promoting yourself online.
As websites are the cornerstone for an artist’s online presence, Born explains how to create a clean, professional site that can be managed without a web developer using free, user-friendly platforms.
“If you want an active, dynamic site with a lot of new content all the time, and is tied in with Twitter and Facebook, use Wordpress. You just hit a couple buttons and it's installed. Say someone wants ECommerce on their site. In the old days you’d hire someone and they’d make you a shopping cart and it was this big expensive thing. Now with Wordpress, there’s a plugin, and you snap it in. It’s free and it works.”
Kathryn Born is the Founder and Publisher of the Chicago Art Machine Network of arts and cultures blogs, and has previously contributed to Bad at Sports, Chicago Now and many other platforms. She currently earns a living in New Media, consulting companies about how to use the internet, what technologies and software are being adopted, and how to maximize your dollars in promoting yourself online.
In this webinar Paul talks with artist mentor Brainard Carey about the value of persistence, and how artists can break down their own personal roadblocks by making small changes to their lives. Carey also shares his story of cold calling and then collaborating with the celebrity James Franco.
“By doing a repetitive task that’s difficult at first it gets better and you naturally build confidence. Like, for example, going to a see a gallery. It’s really scary for people—what are you going to say? The fact is, if you can get yourself to do it once, it’ll be better than not doing it at all. If you can do it twice, or three times, and you have someone expecting your call, you’re going to feel a little better every time.”
Brainard Carey is an artist’s mentor and artist based in New York and Connecticut. Carey was born in Manhattan and raised in Yonkers, New York. After graduating from college he moved to Block Island where he opened Square One Gallery and published a literary magazine from 1990-1998. Carey returned to New York City in the late 1990s, studying fine art and business at the State University of New York College at Purchase (Purchase College, SUNY) and earning an MFA in 1999. In 2002 he exhibited in the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art with Delia Bajo (now his wife, Delia Carey) under the collaborative name “Praxis.” Praxis has shown widely over the years, including in a 2007 solo show also at the Whitney. In 2011 Praxis began the Museum of Non-Visible Art project (MONA) with actor James Franco, which led to a viral Kickstarter project. Since 2002 the Careys have also run The Art World Demystified, a professional development and mentorship program for artists. Carey has published a number of books, including New Markets for Artists (2012); Making It in the Art World (2011); and, with Delia Carey, The Art of Hugging (2012); and School of Wishing (2013). In 2013 Carey began working towards Certified Personal Trainer certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM CPT). Carey maintains a studio in New Haven, and since 2014 he has hosted a radio program on WYBC, Yale Radio, where he interviews a broad range of art world figures.
Consummate art-world professional Bill Carroll considers how artists can effectively structure their time, drawing on his extensive experience as an artist, a nonprofit administrator, and a former gallery director. Carroll also explains the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts’ Studio Program, and he and Paul debate the value of “niceness.”
“My approach to professional practice is that, having been a director of a gallery, it made me crazy that I would deal with these artists who had no idea what we did and didn’t think they were supposed to know what we did…. I teach that this is a community. You need to understand what the other members of the community do and respect them. Which, by the way, is going to help you in the long run: the more you know, the better.”
William (Bill) Carroll is a New York-based artist, the Director of the Studio Program at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and a Visiting Associate Professor of professional practices in Fine Arts at Pratt Institute. Carroll was born in the Bronx and grew up in Long Island. He studied painting at Pratt, graduating in 1973, then moved to California where he worked a number of odd jobs. Carroll returned to New York in 1981, taking positions first with the Dia Art Foundation and later with the Brooklyn Museum. In 1987 he became the director of Charles Cowles Gallery (closed in 2009), where he remained for nearly ten years. He subsequently became Director of Elizabeth Harris Gallery for a several years before returning to graduate school to focus on his own art practice. He graduated from Queens College with an MFA in 2007 and began working at Nancy Grace Foundation and teaching at Parsons The New School for Design. Carroll now works approximately four days a week at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, dividing his remaining time between teaching and his studio.
In this info-packed webinar, veteran fine art publisher Tom Cvikota delves into the print choices faced by contemporary artists. Cvikota explains technical and professional standards, and gives advice on creative methods for starting a print edition.
“Be as professional as you possibly can and adhere to standards with the marketplace that make you a professional. And the standards that you adhere to as an artist—to protect your market, to protect the print—when working with a printer you insist that, ‘This is the way I want to do it.’”
Tom Cvikota is a Chicago-based print publisher who has been in the business for nearly forty years. Cvikota was born in Chicago, and he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At age 19 he took an internship at the prestigious Landfall Press run by Jack Lemon. Here he worked with a number of high profile artists, beginning with Claes Oldenburg. He has lived and worked for over 10+ years in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago as a publisher and artist collaborator. Some of the artists who he has worked with include Jim Dine, Christo, Chuck Close, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Annette Lemieux, Ed Paschke, Richard Prince, James Rosenquist, and Frank Stella.
Branding expert Hajj Flemings talks about the ways in which artists can use social media platforms to craft personal brands that compliment their artistic goals, and he also explains the importance of bringing online networking into the real world.
“Branding is a major component in turning your ideas into value, opportunities and revenue. Branding helps people better understand how to engage with you and better understand how you fit into the commerce world.”
Hajj Flemings is the CEO/Co-Founder of Gokit, an online identity platform that enables users to manage, organize and curate their stories, and is also the founder of Brand Camp University, a personal branding conference that takes place in the Midwest, New York and Boston. Flemings is the author of “The Brand YU Life: Re-thinking Who You Are Through Personal Brand Management” which was selected as one of Fast Company Magazine 2008 Readers Choice Business Books of the year. He has been featured in national television and online news sources, and travels the country speaking and writing about technology, social media and branding for small business.
Professional Coach and SupporTED co-founder Renee Freedman addresses a sometimes overlooked, intangible aspect of an artist's life: the soul. Here, she advises on how to connect with one's spiritual domain, committing and connecting to what feels right, and listening to oneself to determine where the joy lies in one's creative practice.
"Why are we really doing this? I doubt that anyone would say that the reason that they create art is because they want to make money. Making money happens to be something you have to do to survive, but you started to create art for a different reason: you were drawn to it."
Renee Freedman is a professional coach and collaboration consultant with 30 years of professional experience, education, and interests, working with a variety of leaders and organizations. Freedman co-founded SupporTED, the coaching support program for Fellows of TED: an organization devoted sharing ideas that change the world. She is also the creator of the coaching program for the Fellows of the Unreasonable Institute: an organization with social entrepreneurial endeavors focusing on social and environmental challenges. Freedman holds degrees in Psychology and Human Development and has received coaching certifications/ credentials from Institute for Generative Leadership, Newfield Network, Fielding Institute, and the International Coach Federation.
Gallery Manager Brian Gillham gives a glimpse into the work he does behind the scenes in order to produce successful exhibitions, and also discusses the importance of maintaining relationships in the art community.
“This is a very insular community; even though there are a lot of people who participate, there are few major role players in the game. It doesn’t do you any good to burn any bridges.”
Brian Gillham is a curator and a Gallery Manager at one of Chicago’s top galleries, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery. By embracing a wide range of genres and artists, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery is able to offer a variety of work and maintains professional associations with the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) and the Chicago Art Dealers Association (CADA).
Dynamic consultant Jane Hamill talks business fundamentals for creatives, from time and cash flow management to the importance of being thick-skinned and self-assured.
“I hate to be the capitalist pig here, but I am, and so I will be. I would like to know that every decision is predicated on what you want the outcome to be. Why would I do this show? Well, I want recognition. What particular recognition do I want? If I get that, what will it lead to? If it led to that, what would you get? If there’s no answer, then skip the show.”
Jane Hamill is the creator of Fashion Brain Academy, a training and mentorship course for emerging designers. Raised in Minnesota, Hamill attended Boston University for art history and economics before transferring to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. Hamill received a BFA in Fashion Design from FIT, then took a position in Manhattan’s Garment District where she worked with craftspeople designing children’s outerwear. She took a position with the same company in Chicago for one year before resigning in 1992 to open an eponymous boutique in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Over the course of nearly fifteen years Hamill designed and sold a number of successful fashion lines, placing them in major department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. She also began buying lines from other emerging designers and eventually had brand representatives in five different cities across the United States. Following the birth of her second son Hamill sold her business. She spent the next several years working as a small business consultant for RETAILMavens, a coaching and consulting organization for retailers. In 2010 she founded the online training program Fashion Brain Academy. The program concentrates on helping creatives reach sustainability through the development of specific business skills.
Energetic and unflagging arts advocate Carolina Jayaram reminds artists that they posses truly unique skill sets, and that they really can be the leaders of their own careers.
“I’ve found that some artists want to remain isolated, and that’s what works for them. And that’s okay. But I find that artists who are able to come out a little bit and either socialize and engage with the public or engage with their piers, their work tends to get pushed to new boundaries. And I think it’s important to put yourself out there in that way and make yourself a little bit vulnerable.”
Carolina Jayaram is the Chief Executive Director of the grant-making and art advocacy nonprofit United States Artists (USA). Jayaram was born in Spain to Cuban parents and moved to the United States at the age of three, where she was primarily raised in South Florida. She graduated from The New School in New York City in 1999 with a B.A. in literature and creative writing. After brief stints as a food writer, for which Jayaram earned a culinary degree, and as a program organizer for The University of Texas-Pan American University Writing Center, Jayaram returned to Florida in 2002. She began studying at the University of Miami School of Law, and as a student she co-founded LegalArt, a nonprofit offering legal aid and professional development assistance to artists in exchange for artwork. Jayaram graduated and remained Executive Director of the organization through 2008. She subsequently moved to Chicago and spent a year as an arts education advocate for Arts Alliance Illinois, before taking the position of Executive Director at Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC). At the same time she joined the Board of Cannonball, the organization that LegalArt evolved had into. Jayaram spent nearly five years reviving CAC, growing it from an in-debt organization to one with an annual budget of nearly a million dollars. In February of 2014 she left CAC to become Chief Executive Director of United States Artists. Under her direction the organization relocated from Los Angeles to its present headquarters in Chicago
Artist coach Gwenda Joyce outlines her business of mentoring, marketing and representing contemporary artists, and shares her secrets for establishing and expanding art careers, including building a contacts list, developing a core set of ideas for your practice, and constructing the perfect answer for the ever-present question: "What kind of art do you make?"
"When you have an answer for that question in two or three sentences, in a conversational way in and in a way that draws people in, then you start the conversation and that conversation can go anywhere."
Beginning as an art, architecture and design writer in Northern California, Gwenda Joyce then moved to Chicago as a founding partner of the acclaimed Gwenda Jay/Addington Gallery. After 20 years in the gallery business, Joyce returned to the state of California to start her own business, The Art Ambassador, in which she works as an agent and a coach, connecting artists with the larger art world. Joyce received her BA and Masters from Colorado College.
Artist Business Partner, Robbie Klein, explains the important role a business partner can play in an artist’s career, and shares her expertise in using the contacts you already have to forge new professional relationships and opportunities.
“What I do after determining what the artist wants is secure gallery representation or pursue public relations/media opportunities, look for alternative venues, and act as a sounding board and a critic.”
Robbie Klein has been active in the Chicago arts and not-for-profit worlds for over 20 years. She was the co-owner of Klein Art Works art gallery, has held a position as the midwest director of the American Poetry & Literacy Project, and founded and ran CHALK (Chicago Art Link for Kids). She was executive director of
Chicago End-of-Life Care Coalition, served as community affairs director for both Kendall College and the Chicago Art Project, and held the position of sr. director of alumni and donor relations at Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2011, Klein was director of Art Chicago, MMPI.
Communications guru Tom LaPorte reveals the five steps of persuasion artists can use to win attention from collectors, the media, and the public. He also provides a plethora of other practical advice, from how to write a press release to how to incorporate video and live presentations into one’s marketing.
“Artists, by their natures, are often not drawn to aggressive self-promotion…. The ability to communicate through the conventional channels, to get your work known, to get yourself known as an artist and build your communities is something that takes a little bit of practice. Just as your art does.”
Tom LaPorte is a public relations and communications expert based in Chicago. LaPorte was born in Boston in 1953, and his family moved to Chicago in 1960. He earned a Associate of Arts degree in Speech Communication and Rhetoric from the College of DuPage in 1976, and Bachelor of Science in Speech Communications/Radio-TV from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1979. LaPorte held positions in the radio industry for approximately twenty years, including as a writer, producer, and manager of a news room. In 1996 he began working with the Internet, spearheading an effort to audio stream that year’s Democratic National Convention. LaPorte worked as a writer, editor, and webmaster for WBBM-AM for several years before becoming Assistant Commissioner for the City of Chicago in public and media relations. He spent nearly thirteen years in the role before leaving to act as an independent consultant. Since 2004 LaPorte has also coordinated media relations for Burning Man, an annual festival which brings approximately 68,000 artist-attendees to the Nevada desert. Through the festival, LaPorte acts as a pro bono consultant for artists and creatives of all types.
As an independent publicist for several artists, Levato’s advice ranges from the necessity to verbally express artistic goals and crafting clear artist statements, to building a mailing list campaign and professionally approaching the press to get the word out about your work and exhibitions.
“Being in your studio is a very solitary thing, so you need to talk about your art. And not in the way that you do in graduate school, but in the way that you would to someone on the corner. The way that you would over coffee.”
Lauren Levato is a Chicago-based Visual Artist and Publicist. She was trained at The School of Representational Art in Chicago and studied privately with Steven Assael. She earned her degrees in Professional Writing and Women’s Studies from Purdue, and in Political Journalism from Georgetown University.
Jennifer Lewis, an independent specialist in artists’ career advancement, analyzes how proper networking and exhibiting can lead to sustained career success, not just short term recognition.
“Don’t look to New York, L.A., Chicago, and London first, unless you live in those towns. Stay local…. It hinges on what curators are doing. Curators actually make their reputation on the artists they decide to give their museum shows to. It’s a question of connoisseurship. And those are the people that you can invite to your studio, and whose business it is to look at local art ecosystems and comment upon them.”
Jennifer Perrell Lewis is a exhibition developer and "curatorial agent" who assists artists pursuing longterm professional advancement. Lewis was born and raised in West Virginia. She graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, afterwards backpacking around the world for a year and a half—an experience which convinced her to abandon a planned career in anthropology. On her return to the United States Lewis moved to Seattle, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Museology from the University of Washington and began work as an art handler and installer for the Seattle Art Museum. Lewis then joined the studio of artist Dale Chihuly, eventually becoming Program Director of the 125-person operation. Between 1993 and 2007 Lewis produced projects in thirteen countries for Chihuly Studio, developing up to twenty solo exhibition based-projects per year. After leaving the studio, Lewis moved to Austin where she became the Strategic Initiatives Planner for The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in 2008. In 2011 Lewis began working as an independent curatorial agent for international artists, specializing in contemporary sculptors.
Tech artist Patrick Lichty of Second Front and The Yes Men talks about New Media Art, the benefits of maintaining a writing practice, and how the very best artists participate in a “gift economy.”
“Volunteer, write, curate, collaborate, give to Kickstarter. There is no shortage for free work and your voice gets better known --it gains value and you’ll get more and more paid work.”
Patrick Lichty is a technologically-based media artist, writer, independent curator, co-founder of the performance art group Second Front, animator for the activist group, The Yes Men, and Executive Editor of Intelligent Agent Magazine. He began showing technological media art in 1989, and his solo and collaborative work has been exhibited in such venues as the Whitney & Turin Biennials, Maribor Triennial, Performa Performance Biennial, Ars Electronica, and the International Symposium on the Electronic Arts (ISEA). He is also an Assistant Professor of Interactive Arts & Media at Columbia College Chicago.
Social Media marketing expert Katy Lynch presents a step-by-step guide to turning platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Linkedin into powerful tools that make your art "findable" for your target audience; Lynch also addresses how to measure the success of what you publish online and why knowing your results is crucial.
"If you're not measuring your results on social media, then you probably shouldn't even bother with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all these other platforms. How do you know what types of content people want to read if you're not measuring how well your content is doing?"
Katy Lynch is the co-founder of SocialKaty, a Chicago-based social media marketing agency. Lynch and her partner Craig Ulliott founded SocialKaty after the two had major success developing Facebook apps including “Where I’ve Been,” which was sold to TripAdvisor LLC in 2011. Lynch is the creator of the immensely popular Twitter hashtag “#traveltuesday,” and in 2012, SocialKaty was the recipient of significant capital from Lightbank, the venture fund run by Groupon Inc. founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. SocialKaty continues to work with clients in a variety of markets, launching campaigns that include Facebook and Twitter marketing, content generation and distribution, and analytics.
E-commerce expert Eoin Matthews gives Klein Artist Works participants a whirlwind introduction to the business of online art sales. Included are a number of practical tips on building your online presentation and setting prices.
“The key thing you’re trying to counter with most online buyers, is that most people don’t want to feel like a fool. In a gallery you can make people feel special, you can enrich that experience for them and give them a personal story. With online, and especially with very expensive products online, you have a fear factor. It’s a very real fear factor and you need to counteract that. And you need to do it subtly.”
Eoin Matthews is the founder of Popt, an e-commerce site where artists and designers can sell their work. Matthews was born in Ireland, and he currently lives in San Francisco. He has acted as a developer and consultant for a number of online companies, including as Senior Consultant, QSET; Founder, NotPaul; Cofounder and Vice President of Business Development, Yub.com; Vice President of Business Development, VigLink; and Vice President of Business Development and general Vice President, Buy.com.
The career of Chicago-based art insurance adjustor Robert O’Connell links the seemingly disparate worlds of art and insurance. He discusses his job assessing damaged artwork and identifying forgeries and fraud, all the while relating the bizarre stories of what he’s seen and with whom he’s worked over the years. O’Connell also gives practical advice on understanding insurance and when artists should have fine art insurance.
“Having spent most of my adult life in this career, probably 99% of people in the insurance world know nothing about art. Probably the same percentage of people in the art world don’t know much about insurance. So it’s an interesting set of bedfellows where insurance companies are insuring art and yet they don’t understand it, and a lot of people who have insurance policies don’t read them because they’re complex documents written by lawyers. It’s rather an interesting niche to work in where I tell people that I feel like I’m bilingual because I speak art and I speak insurance.”
Robert O’Connell is the principal of O’Connell International Advisors, Inc. He has worked internationally as an art insurance adjustor for over twenty-five years. Notably, he was on the ground assessing damage to artwork in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He studied art history at San Diego State University and California State University.
Founder of artist website company IndieMade®, Jennifer Rapp Peterson talks about the importance of a powerful, branded web presence for artists, and demos the most current technology for websites that help artists achieve their goals.
“Your website will never be done. It’s always going to be a work in progress, and you’ll always adjust it based on the kind of art that you’re working on; things will always change as you go.”
Jennifer Rapp Peterson is an illustrator, cartoonist, toy inventor and software consultant, and is also the founder of IndieMade® a Chicago-based company specializing in simple, reasonably-priced websites for artists. IndieMade® uses state-of-the-art technology to create unique, easy-to-use, well-branded artist websites.
In this presentation, Rosenberg shares her knowledge on the different kinds of grants available to artists and where to find them, and also outlines the benefits of applying for grants, even if you don’t win.
“Once you’ve identified an opportunity that you really want to apply for, then it becomes a game of kind of playing matchmaker. Think about the mission of this funder, and what are they are interested in funding. Read their guidelines and look at their criteria; make sure that you are the artist they are looking for.”
Gigi Rosenberg, the author of The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing: How to Find Funds and Write Foolproof Proposals for the Visual, Literary, and Performing Artist, is a renowned expert on the topic of obtaining funds for artists. While specializing in researching, applying for, and obtaining grant money, she is also a presentation coach.
In this extended webinar, art business consultant Alyson B. Stanfield explains how artists can overcome a range of daunting obstacles, then fields specific online marketing questions from Klein Artist Works’ participants.
“I do think that there are many ways to make yourself unique…. The way that you frame your work, the way that you treat people, your openings—there’s so many—the way that you write your blog posts so they don’t sound like every other artist’s blog posts…. I really believe that people sometimes, a lot of times, buy the artist as much as the art.”
Alyson B. Stanfield is an art consultant, the founder of ArtBizCoach.com, and the author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion (2011). Stanfield was born in Great Falls, Montana, and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She studied at the University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY) and the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK), graduating with a B.A. in Art History. Stanfield earned an M.A. from the University of Texas (Austin, TX) with a thesis on “Milton Avery and Naive Primitivism.” After graduating, Stanfield took the position of Assistant Curator at the Oklahoma City Art Museum (now the Oklahoma City Museum of Art) in 1991. Stanfield was promoted to Curator at the museum, a position she held until 1995, before leaving to serve as Curator of Education at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. In 1998, Stanfield moved on to the Wichita Art Museum, where she became the new Director of Education. Stanfield left the museum world for good in 2001, and shortly after moved Colorado where she briefly worked as a Gallery Assistant at Ernest Fuller Fine Art in Denver. Stanfield began assisting artists with organization and self-promotion through Stanfield Art Associates (2001) and ArtBizCoach.com (2002). She teaches a number of art business consulting workshops and classes, both online and in person, and she is a frequent public speaker. Stanfield currently lives outside Denver in Golden, Colorado, with her husband.
Michael Bungay Stanier is a writer and creative coach. In this lively discussion, Bungay Stanier explains the importance of defining and forming habits for motivating artists to develop solid marketing strategies.
"What builds success is sheer bloody minded persistence - a habit, in other words"
As Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company with the motto to help organizations and individuals do less Good Work and more Great Work, Michael works as an "innovation expert" and has been instrumental in the invention of various new products and services.
Bungay Stanier is a Rhodes Scholar and was appointed the first Canadian Coach of the Year. As a professional keynote speaker, Bungay Stanier has had speaking engagements at business conferences around the globe. He is on the Editorial advisory board of the Peer Bulletin, a journal dedicated to mentoring and has worked as a creativity coach for David Allen's online community, Getting Things Done.